Verstappen: Hamilton wrong to say we’ve stopped developing car

2018 Singapore Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen rejected Lewis Hamilton’s suggestion Red Bull has stopped developing its current car to concentrate on preparations for the 2019 F1 season.

Hamilton made the remarks at yesterday’s press conference in Singapore when asked how competitive Red Bull are likely to be this weekend.

“[The team] will let us know in the meeting we have coming up, whether or not Red Bull will play a role in this weekend’s race,” said Hamilton. “But they’ve been there or thereabouts in quite a lot of the races, so you have to assume this is usually a good race for them.

“I think they’ve stopped developing their car quite a long time ago to focus on next year’s car, from what I’ve heard. So they’re just driving with what they have.”

Verstappen denied Hamilton’s claim when it was put to him. “I’m not sure how he knows that,” he said. “It’s not true.”

However Verstappen believes the progress Mercedes and Ferrari have made with their engines this year means Red Bull won’t be as competitive in Singapore as they were last year.

“Looking at it realistically I think we are down on power more than last year and last year we were already three tenths down in qualifying compared to Seb[astian Vettel]. So it will be hard but never say never.

“I think our car is really good. I just hope we can extract a little bit more out of the engine of good. For sure we’ll push very hard to get the best result.”

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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
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11 comments on “Verstappen: Hamilton wrong to say we’ve stopped developing car”

  1. That was a really odd comment from Hamilton. Maybe RBR fell behind the curve compared to rest or maybe the updates didnt work.

      1. Yes he does like to do that :)

      2. Considering neither of RBR in contension for championship only reason that I can think of poking fire would be ruin the race up front for team red.

  2. No progress, no change to become wc, have to build a complete new chassis around the honda engine.
    No wonder that hamilton thinks that.

    No only does RBR make a new chassis they also need to make a evolution of that or they will be two years behind the rest as the rest only need to evolve their current car.

    No I think Hamilton is right.

    1. Ummm no he isn’t right at all.

      Sky were reporting during Free practice that Redbull were flying in updated components overnight last night.

      1. Well there’s no reason to suppose Hamilton meant they’d completely stopped, only that they were already concentrating mostly on next year. Why wouldn’t they? This year they’re in 3rd place whatever, next year they have a lot of new elements to adapt to, including the new engine. It would make little sense to invest heavily in a fight they’ve no chance of winning, while knowing that Ferrari and Mercedes will still be focusing resources on this year’s title fight.

      2. @asanator, you have to take into account that there is still a fairly significant delay between a designer handing over a “finished” design for production and that component then appearing on the car.

        Furthermore, there will be components that will be designed for certain specific tracks, such as Singapore, that might well be designed much earlier in the season, but their production is phased to take place much later on in the season – so something that might appear on the car now might well have actually been designed months ago. Monaco is a pretty good example of that – parts that appear for that circuit are usually signed off in March, sometimes before the first race of the season, because of the way that the production cycles usually work during the opening flyaway races.

        With that in mind, it is possible for a design team might finish developing a car partway through the season, but for new components to continue appearing on the car over the next few races because those components were still working their way through the production cycle at the time.

        In fact, it’s fairly common to see that occur amongst the midfield teams – there have been times when outfits such as Force India might finish designing a car a few months a few months before the end of the season, but there might still be some smaller new components that appear on the cars in subsequent races because the development cycle.

        With that in mind, Hamilton could potentially still be correct – Red Bull could potentially have slowed or stopped the development of new components for their 2018 car, but pre-planned circuit specific upgrades that had already been designed earlier in the season are being introduced now.

        At the very least, I imagine that quite a few figures would be surprised if Red Bull had not significantly slowed, or stopped, development of their 2018 car at this point in the season. The changes to the front wing regulations will limit the potential tech transfer between this year and 2019, which does partially reduce the benefits of continuing to develop parts over the course of this year – additionally, the change in engine supplier to Honda is another incentive to start development early to try and optimise the chassis around that new power unit.

        Their relative position to the front two teams and the rest of the midfield pack is another incentive – they are in a pretty lonely 3rd place in the WCC, too far back to really challenge the leaders and far enough ahead to not really face a challenge from 4th, such as is the case on the track as well.

        Singapore is really the last circuit where they were expected to be a possible threat – so, with that in mind, the incentive to keep developing their 2018 car really drops off quite sharply from now until the end of the season. It would make a lot of sense for the team to have decided that, after the summer shutdown, they would stop, or significantly reduce, development of their 2018 car to just focus on the parts they can transfer onto their 2019 car, and to ramp up development of their 2019 car to a much greater degree.

        1. Don’t forget mexico and japan, last year in mexico verstappen was unstoppable because he only had number 2 drivers competing vs him, but I think red bull, ferrari and mercedes were even last year in that race, and also japan, vettel was out of the picture, so we couldn’t see if ferrari was there too, but verstappen pressured hamilton most of the race and he even had to deal with bottas slowing him down before pit, so I wouldn’t rule red bull out of those either.

  3. Don’t you think RBR already used Torro’s engine info last year to figure that out and long before they swapped the engines anounchment the bais design was already finnished? I think the 2019 design is already more then 80% finished.

    1. @macleod, probably not, because Toro Rosso themselves have indicated that the design information from Honda came in quite late during the design process, so the chassis wasn’t fully optimised around the Honda engine.

      Furthermore, I believe that Honda have been making further modifications to the engine architecture over the past year (for example, the cooling system has been beefed up since the start of the season), so any information that might have been given to Toro Rosso in late 2017 might not actually be that useful to Red Bull due to those subsequent modifications.

      There might have been some information exchange, but overall I suspect that Red Bull probably would have preferred to simply start from a clean sheet design.

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