July 20, 2024
Red Bull Racing faces technical challenges and handling issues as the opening practice sessions of the Free Practice Sessions, prompting an all-nighter for adjustments in hopes of boosting performance against strong rivals like Mercedes and Ferrari.Red Bull have taken 100 wins – but their future could be brighter than  their past

Red Bull Racing’s struggles during the early practice sessions of the Spanish Grand Prix were difficult as the team grappled with handling issues that plagued both drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. These challenges brought back memories of the troubles the team encountered at the Imola circuit, hinting at a recurring problem that could affect their season’s prospects.

Verstappen, driving the RB20, was vocal about the car’s difficulties, managing only the fifth-fastest time, while Perez lagged behind significantly, finishing 13th. These outcomes illustrate the extent of the difficulties facing Red Bull as they strive to remain competitive against their close rivals, McLaren, Mercedes, and Ferrari.

Former Formula 1 driver and current analyst Karun Chandhok pointed out the critical nature of the situation.

“They will have someone in the simulator for 10 or 11 hours overnight,” Chandhok elaborated during the Sky Sports F1 broadcast. He recalled a similar incident at Imola where, after a long stint in the simulator by Sebastien Buemi, Verstappan dramatically improved to capture pole position: “That’s what happened at Imola. They were nowhere on Friday, Sebastien Buemi did 11 hours overnight, then Max got pole.”

Chandhok also emphasized the competitiveness of the field, suggesting that, “There are six or seven cars who could get pole. Max needs to bring his A-game. So do Red Bull.” He expressed particular concern about Perez, noting, “Perez looks behind the game, he needs to raise it.”

Adding to the technical analysis, Danica Patrick, former IndyCar driver turned commentator, provided her insights during the second practice session, highlighting the physical behaviors of the RB20 on track.

“I don’t know if what I saw on track is what’s going on with the setup. But I can explain what I saw,” she said. Patrick observed, “Coming out on the fast S’s, especially 7 and 8 and coming up that hill, you saw the cars bottoming out. Ferrari in particular. You didn’t see that at all from Max, from the Red Bulls.”

She further noted the handling issues.

“Also, if the car is understeering in the middle of the corner, it doesn’t give you a lot to lean on when it catches, which is usually does, especially with the kerbing here.” Regarding the braking performance, Patrick remarked, “Watching them all brake into Turn 10, they didn’t look like they could get as much out of the car into the braking zone as Mercedes, as Ferrari. It was noticeable from an attitude perspective.”

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