Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2020

Red Bull can’t release as much energy on straights as rivals – Verstappen

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says Red Bull are losing more time to their rivals on the straights at some circuits.

He also believes the team have become less competitive in races compared to qualifying sessions this year.

Red Bull have reduced Mercedes’s advantage over the course of the season but Verstappen has only scored a single victory so far, in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone in August. The fluctuations in the gap between the two have been “track-dependent”, Verstappen said.

“Where you are, for example, clipping a lot, it seems like we are a bit more prone to that,” he explained in response to a question from RaceFans. “So of course you lose a bit more lap time on the straights.

“Maybe compared to last year as well, it seems like last year from qualifying to the race we would gain a bit, and it seems like maybe now qualifying [is] a little bit better and then in the race, we struggle a bit more with that. But it’s not on every track.”

Red Bull got within two-tenths of a second of Mercedes in the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, which was their strongest performance over a single lap so far this year.

“Nurburgring wasn’t that bad,” said Verstappen. “I think we were quite competitive. It was just a few corners where it seemed like it was struggling a bit and that’s why Lewis [Hamilton] was just opening the gap on me.”

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Verstappen finished almost 35 seconds behind Hamilton at the last race in Portugal after losing a lot of time in the damp conditions at the start.

“The last race, I just find it very tricky to comment on that one because of, first of all, the first lap but also the Tarmac and everything, I was on a different strategy. So I don’t think there is a trend.

“I just see that when you are a bit more limited with the energy you can use over a lap in the race it seems like we don’t have the same amount of release, at least on the straights, so we’ll have to work harder to try and improve that.”

Red Bull’s engine supplier Honda will leave Formula 1 at the end of the year. The team wishes to take over the engine supply for 2022.

Asked by RaceFans whether he thought that was the best decision for the team, Verstappen said: “I don’t know how to comment on that to be honest, I guess we just have to wait and see what’s going to happen.

“We had two retirements this year, but I think in general they’ve done a great job. I’m very happy to work with Honda, they’re great guys. They are very, very motivated and they will never give up and I like that mentality.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Author information

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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13 comments on “Red Bull can’t release as much energy on straights as rivals – Verstappen”

  1. Cristiano Ferreira
    31st October 2020, 16:08

    “We had two retirements this year, but I think in general they’ve done a great job. I’m very happy to work with Honda, they’re great guys. They are very, very motivated and they will never give up and I like that mentality.”

    But they did gave up Verstappen

    1. Lol @ the “But they did gave up Verstappen” comment as I was thinking the same thing :D

    2. To be fair, he was probably referring to the Honda team he directly works with (some of which who are in the garage) and less the upper management that decided to shift their focus to other things, even if the question was asking about the Honda as a whole.

      Besides, he still works with them next year – and very much wants that upcoming upgraded engine to bring the fight to Mercedes.

  2. Verstappen has wasted too many years of his prime stuck with a mediocre engine.

    1. @kingshark
      A GP2 engine to be precise :) He has nothing to do but sit and wait till Hamilton retires to have a shot at that Mercedes seat and Hamilton have no intention to retire soon as long as he drives a Mercedes with Bottas as a teammate and Mercedes haven’t shown any sign of slowing down in terms of dominance.

    2. That’s total nonsense. The engine is fine. Drivers power as required.

      The problem is Redbull chassis. Adrian newey is too old school and his ideas are outdated.

      1. What about Newey’s past achievements?

  3. I think MV days at RB are numbered. RB will only get slower. Would love to see him at Renault replacing Ocon. Imagine Alonso/Verstappen, the fireworks…!

  4. Strange, I thought it was supposed to give you wings?

  5. Oh that’s good finally. Look at your own team, they go for fancy pit stop times and fake repairs but the problem is the car is just not good enough.

  6. Interesting that sMax would say this. Sky showed a plot of Bottas and sMax braking for the same corner and accelerating away. The acceleration curves were essentially the same. Hmmm…

    1. Not sure why you put an s before Max, last to gloss over that and look at the content of your post. Verstappen wasn’t at talking about acceleration in the initial phase, but clipping at the end. So there is no contradiction.

    2. That doesn’t prove anything. Just that the Mercedes has probably got more downforce.

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