Red Bull stopped using DRS in Abbey due to ’80bhp’ engine deficit

2018 British Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen revealed he wasn’t able to take Abbey flat-out in qualifying with DRS open because he was running with less downforce than in practice.

The Red Bull drivers were the first to tackle the corner flat-out while using DRS during practice. However the team’s lack of straight-line speed has forced them into a set-up compromise since then.

“On my previous wing level it was flat out with DRS open,” said Verstappen. “[But] in qualifying not because I went down on wing level. Then it gets a bit tricky.”

Lowering the wing angle will help make up for the team’s shortfall in straight-line speed. Verstappen said the team’s Renault power units have up to 80bhp less than their rivals and are costing them up to a second on the straights.

Asked about their deficit to their rivals in qualifying, Verstappen said: “I think you can fill it in yourself. I think if you miss 70, 80 horsepower you know you’re going to struggle.

“Now, with the cars we have, a few corners became flat-out so it just gets more and more difficult.”

“Turn one, for example, and Copse [are flat-out],” said Verstappen. “The big problem as well is when you go through a corner which is almost flat, then when you accelerate out of the corner our engine is just not pulling, and their engine then recovers [the deficit]. Then you know you don’t have the horsepower.

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“Especially the corners which are flat, you start scrubbing speed with the steering and you lose even more because after the corner it’s getting even bigger.”

Red Bull will switch from Renault to Honda engines at the end of the season. Verstappen denied he is frustrated by the French manufacturer’s engines.

“[I’ve been] driving already four years like this,” he said. “You get used to it. Of course it’d not what you want but that’s how it is.”

Verstappen drew encouragement from his victory last weekend in Austria where he didn’t expect to be competitive after qualifying.

“In the race normally we should be a bit stronger. It’s going to be very warm again so hopefully that will be quite OK for us.”

“In Austria I had a bad feeling after qualifying” he added. “I thought we were just not fast enough. We surprised in the race with actually really good pace. So never say never but it’s going to be tough.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on “Red Bull stopped using DRS in Abbey due to ’80bhp’ engine deficit”

    1. Good thing Red Bull have the worst engine, otherwise they would lap the field and grab pole by two seconds at every race.

      1. That, or perhaps they are, not quite but at least some way, into the same territory there as were McLaren last year, and where they have been all the time during their championship years: (too) comfortable to blame any deficit on the engine; I think they are a much better team, at the moment, than McLaren, and so I doubt they will have packaging problems (though look back to 2014, they didn’t get most out of that engine), but as Verstappen admits, for best pace, sometimes you have to look at using less draggy downforce.

    2. How is he describing the deficit of the engine, when it’s ‘not pulling’ out of some situations, as if he had experience with another engine and knows what it should be like? This reminds me of McLaren, blaming the engine for everything until they replaced the engine and are still nowhere. There’s no way they would be where they are and winning races if they had 80bhp less. All that nonsense Redbull are saying is nothing more than making their position look better than it is.

      1. He doesnt need to have try a better engine, in all the races he has raced he sees how the guy in front goes away after a turn.

      2. There’s no way they would be where they are and winning races if they had 80bhp less.

        Just check where the other teams (not the smallest names) with the same engine are! @ivan-vinitskyy
        There are few people who disagree that RBR has one of the strongest chassis and that the Renault PU is lacking against Ferrari (who seem strongest now) and Mercedes.

      3. They hace GPS traces from all cara

      4. @ivan-vinitskyy Exactly. We have heard this before from Red Bull when they claimed the were at least 40bhp down on Mercedes in the V8 era which in reality only turned out to be less than 20bhp while their engine needed less fuel which more than compensated for that.

        Still, say they have 35 to 40bhp less. That would still be a noticeable deficit, but I doubt it’s just engine alone. There is a reason they are faster through corners and that same reason also makes you slower on the straight. Just setting the wings a bit flatter will compensate a little for that, but clearly not entirely.

    3. I’d be surprised if ~5kmh slower in the speed traps equates to being 80 HP down.

    4. Now that they’ve signed with Honda, it’s back to Renault bashing time. Renault still isn’t anywhere close to Ferrari or Mercedes, but 80hp might be a bit of stretch. Can’t wait to see how Max reacts when he’s got Honda power in the back.

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