Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Red Bull discover set-up error compromised cars in Bahrain

2019 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed the team made a fundamental set-up error at the Bahrain Grand Prix due to a sensor problem.

“It was something on both cars,” Horner confirmed to Sky, “it was basically a sensor issue that has meant that the set-up we thought was on the car actually wasn’t on the car.

“It was something quite subtle but the effect of it, difficult to gauge.”

Both drivers found it difficult to achieve the expected lap times on the soft tyre during the previous race, and the team only narrowly beat Haas to third-fastest team behind Ferrari and Mercedes in qualifying.

Red Bull ran different programmes on Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly’s cars during the first practice session in China as it pressed on with development of its Honda-powered RB15. Horner added the lessons learned in the post-race test in Bahrain has helped them make progress.

“We had a good test in Bahrain. We understood a lot of things about the car. It gave us some good direction and it was a really beneficial couple of day. So that was certainly a positive.”

Gasly scored his first points for the team in Bahrain but is yet to reach Q3 this season. He is confident he and the team can make rapid gains in the coming races.

“I’m confident the team, I think Red Bull proved many times they are probably one of the fastest teams to develop the car,” he said.

“For sure I expect the car to be stronger and stronger race after race and for sure my feeling with it will improve. I expect the evolution to go together in the same direction. I’m pretty confident about it and hopefully we can improve really soon and start properly this weekend.”

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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...
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...

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14 comments on “Red Bull discover set-up error compromised cars in Bahrain”

  1. OK, so for those who were thinking the Honda PU had taken RBR backwards, maybe we need to see how they do over a few more races, because it seems like RBR might actually be no worse off than with Renault, maybe even better.

    1. (dives into stats)
      After 2 races Red Bull scored a 3rd, 4th and 8th finish; 31 points after 2 races.
      That’s better than 2018 (4,6,DNF,DNF), 2015 (6,9,10,DNS) and 2014 (3,DSQ,DNF,DNF) and just slightly worse than 2017 (3,4,5,DNF) and 2016 (4,4,6,10).

      So in their first year with Honda Red Bull did better than their average over the hybrid era. Despite the strategical error that prevented Gasly from getting past Q1 in Australia and the sensor issue in Bahrain. They also scored more points than the two Renault powered teams combined (14). And they blew up 0 engine related parts versus … well a bunch already.
      Red Bull is no worse off. Definitely.

      1. Neat stats, thank you.

    2. Not sure why people would be blaming Honda when Red Bull have stated publicly many times this year that it was the chassis causing the problems.

  2. Seems Honda engine is quiet fine, sensor error? I heard someone build up a part the wrong side on (on both cars).

    1. eye sensor probably then ;)

  3. I can tell you now if they were still using Renault engines we all know who would be getting the blame.

    1. if they used Renault engines they probably would not finish 50% of the races until now ;)

    2. Poor Renault building great engines for years and getting all the blame. just because it’s a weaker and more unreliable engine that Ferrari and Mercedes. Evil red bull should not have said anything but should have been a nice customer paying millions with out complaining about the quality

      1. If they can do better, let them buid the engines themselves, just like FER and MERC.

  4. If they were still using Renault engines we all know who would be getting the “GP2” blame.

    1. But the problem there is, Renault deserved the blame and still does!

  5. Well,
    1. RBR was using an illegal wing in practice (trying to cheat…again).
    2. VER lap times were on mediums while VET and BOT were running hards.
    Tomorrow RBR will be .5 sec slower than Red just like the race.
    Sorry Marko, tough road ahead.

  6. First Honda engine failure today Dani’s car.
    I imagine there is a bit of anxiety at RBR/Honda today…

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