Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

‘When I saw Red Bull’s floor I said hats off to them’, says McLaren’s Stella

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In the round-up: McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says he is impressed by Red Bull’s floor design on their RB19 after studying photos of it.

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In brief

Stella impressed by “complexity and quality” of Red Bull floor

Images of the floor on the championship-leading Red Bull RB19 were widely circulated after Sergio Perez crashed during qualifying in Monaco last weekend. His car had to be craned off the track, which allowed photographers to capture high-quality images of the ground effect-generating underbody.

Stella admitted McLaren had already studied images of the Red Bull’s floor in intense detail. “Myself personally, I spent some time, but the 100 aerodynamicists at McLaren will be spending a little bit more time,” Stella said.

“It’s very interesting indeed and also shows the complexity and the quality of their development. To be honest, when I saw it, I said hats off to Red Bull, I can understand why they have this kind of performance.”

Bearman barely clings onto F1 pole

Oliver Bearman secured pole position for Sunday’s Formula 2 feature race by just 0.077s on the stop watch and millimetres on track.

The Ferrari junior driver took his second feature race pole of the season and second in three rounds by pipping Enzo Fittipaldi by less than a tenth of a second. However, Bearman only narrowly avoided his lap being invalidated by the stewards as he came close to crossing the white line on the exit of the final corner.

Theo Pourchaire qualified in fifth but was hit by a three-place grid penalty after he was deemed to have impeded Dennis Hauger. That will apply to today’s partially-reversed sprint race grid, where he is set to start ninth alongside Bearman. Amaury Cordeel has pole position.

Marti takes first F3 pole at home

Josep Maria Marti secured his first pole position in the FIA Formula 3 championship for tomorrow’s feature race in yesterday’s qualifying session.

The Campos driver stormed to the top of the times with a lap exactly a quarter of a second quicker than fellow front row starter Taylor Barnard to secure his first feature race pole in his home nation of Spain.

Two Williams junior drivers will share the front row on the partially-reversed grid for today’s sprint race, Zak O’Sullivan lining up ahead of Luke Browning.

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Comment of the day

Aston Martin believe that Alonso would have got ahead of Verstappen in Monaco had they pitted for intermediate tyres instead of mediums, but Jimmy Cliff isn’t so sure…

It is a flawed analysis given that Max was advised that Alonso pitted for new mediums instead of inters – as result there was no pressure on Max nor Red Bull to rush back to the pits to stay out ahead of Alonso.

Also after leaving the pits on new inters Max didn’t have to push and therefore gently brought the inters up to speed.

Last and not mentioned anywhere nor shown on TV, Alonso drove straight coming out of the tunnel on his lap with mediums. That gained time would have led to a penalty if he indeed would have stayed ahead of Max.
Jimmy Cliff

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to J.Danzig and Tom Parfitt!

On this day in motorsport

  • 50 years ago today Jackie Stewart won his final Monaco Grand Prix while James Hunt made his Formula 1 debut

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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17 comments on “‘When I saw Red Bull’s floor I said hats off to them’, says McLaren’s Stella”

  1. Looking at the numbers here:

    At lap 53, the one before Alonso pits for mediums, the gap is 13.308s. It had been growing every lap since the rain started, so by the end of the lap it may have been a bit higher.

    If you take drivers who also stopped at lap 54 but took inters, Hamilton did a 1:39.603 on his outlap (lap 55). Russell did a 1:41.302 on his second lap (he went off in his outlap). Ocon did a 1:42.379. On lap 55 (his inlap), Verstappen did a 2:10.567.

    If Alonso had pitted for inters instead of mediums and at least matched Ocon’s pace, he would have gained 28 seconds on Verstappen, so he would have been at least 14s ahead.

    Now, lets say Verstappen’s inlap was way slower than he could do. Charles Leclerc, who stopped the same lap as Verstappen (lap 55) and was fighting for position, therefore not being able to afford a slow inlap, did a 2:09.246 . Verstappen could have probably gone faster than that. Lets say 5 seconds faster, a 2:04. Alonso is now only 7.621s ahead of Verstappen.

    There’s absolutely no doubt that if Aston Martin had given Alonso intermediate tyres in his first stop, he would have been in the lead with a significant margin, in a track where it’s notoriously difficult to overtake. Is it a slam dunk win? Probably, but there’s a chance Verstappen would have caught up, and overtaking in wet conditions might be a bit less impossible than in dry conditions. But by the time Verstappen caught up, there might have been a bit of a dry line at certain parts of the track.

    So who knows. But Alonso would have been leading the Monaco GP with 23 laps to go and an advantage of at least 7 seconds.

    1. @casjo Don’t forget he would’ve likely got penalized for cutting the chicane on his out-lap (which could’ve equally happened with inters), meaning Max would’ve got the race win guaranteed once getting within 5 seconds.

      1. Yellow Baron
        3rd June 2023, 6:11

        Not sure how there would be equal chance of missing the chicane with inters in the rain Vs wets but okay

        1. Fred Fedurch
          3rd June 2023, 13:22

          ^—– This. Everyone is forgetting that piece of the equation.

    2. Yellow Baron
      3rd June 2023, 6:10

      Nice analysis, I didn’t buy the cod reasoning either. Verstappen was brushing walls and everywhere on his in lap iirc.
      It was a surprise Alonso didn’t put inters on when the rain was increasing and spreading to the rest of the track. And also iirc he was the only one yet to pit that stayed on dry tyres after his pitstop??

    3. In order for your analysis to be precise, the 13.308s gap should be updated after Alonso’s in-lap. Else, the 2:10.567 cannot be taken into account the way you’ve done it.

      The calculation is simple: Alonso’s first in-lap (1:50.3) was 20 seconds faster than Verstappen’s (2:10.5), and Alonso’s out-lap on inters would have been even faster than that first in-lap, since both Bottas’ and Stroll’s out-lap on inters was 1:32.1, but you can consider those laps were made with less water on track and the 1:39 you mention may be more accurate. Anyway, 20s + the out-lap would make more than a pit stop advantage: at that pace, Alonso could have overtaken Max BEFORE Max pitted, as Sargeant and Tsunoda, both on inters, did; that was the massive out-lap advantage he could have gained had he fitted inters.

      1. Sorry, I made a lot of inaccurate assumptions in this message, forget it. Sorry.

    4. @casjo Good analysis to compare the inlap and outlaps of the different strategy’s. It shows that Alonso could have undercut Max despite the 13s gap. Still there is a lot of uncertainty. Max was advised to bring it in slow on his inlap and Leclerc was fighting with his own teammate so there is a lot of uncertainty in those in-laptimes. But it shows that with hindsight it was the best oppertunity for Alonso to win the race. Still I dont think AM made a mistake because at that moment it was unlikely to jump a gap of 13s. Maybe a gamble to take the mediums but without the rain increasing it could as well have been the winning strategy as Max had to switch to the hard tyres.

  2. The salient points from Jumbo for me are;

    On withdrawal from Dutch GP sponsorship van Veen

    “We don’t want anything to do with motorsport and suspicions. ”

    With Max Verstappen and Jumbo-Visma we stop for a completely different reason. That sponsorship has brought us a lot of brand awareness, but we have now won everything there is to be won.”

    1. notagrumpyfan
      3rd June 2023, 8:45

      The ‘suspicion’ comment was surely made in Dutch, and then ‘motorsport’ should be translated as ‘motorcycle sports’.

      1. The former CEO is a suspect in a money laundering case that includes certain motorcross deals; not so much motorsport as a whole.

  3. COTD brings up interesting points, but yes, Max indeed would’ve pushed harder on his in-lap to keep up the gap had Alonso already been on inters & I’m surprised the chicane overshoot didn’t get shown nor mentioned anywhere, but had Alonso gotten ahead, that would’ve indeed led to a penalty, most likely a five-second one, meaning their order would’ve changed at the chequered flag anyway, given Max could’ve most certainly stayed within 5 seconds until the end.
    Therefore, all-in-all, Alonso was doomed to P2 in more or less any case.

    1. Yellow Baron
      3rd June 2023, 6:14

      Max was already pushing no? Infact barely keeping it out the barriers? Pretty sure he brushed them at least once or twice on his in lap
      Pushing harder than that wouldn’t have worked out very well

    2. notagrumpyfan
      3rd June 2023, 8:53

      Why would Verstappen take it easy? Maybe, just maybe, the call to stay on dry weather tyres was correct, and then Verstappen needed a 20s gap.
      (At the start of that lap RBR clearly didn’t think it was time for inters).

      Why would Alonso miss the chicane after the tunnel on Inters?

      It’s all academic, but don’t dismiss one academic with another one.

      1. Max was advised to take it in slow because they realised that alonso also had to pit for Inters. It gave them a free pitstop and that is why they instructed Max on the inlap. But knowing Max he might as well ignored that call. The cutting of the chicane is indeed not relevant because that was after the pitstop on mediums.
        Yes all academic but looking at the data more realistic with hindsight than expected at the moment of the pitstop

  4. Yellow Baron
    3rd June 2023, 6:17

    Monaco got interesting due to the rain but I wonder if it’s especially thought so because of the so far dull season. It was an outlier amoung duds really, probably why all the talk of Alonso’s stop. Had he come out ahead after stops it really would have been a race on the cards

  5. knowledge of the Redbull floor could explain the Aston Martin resurgence…. I wonder if there is a grapevine for leaked F1 intel?

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