Max Verstappen, Gianpiero Lambiase, Red Bull, 2024

Verstappen’s first RB20 test was so productive “I was actually wishing for less laps”

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Max Verstappen’s first proper test in Red Bull’s new car went so well he began to tire of the number of laps he completed.

The reigning world champion had the car to himself for the opening day of testing, the only one not to be affected by red flags. He covered 143 laps, equivalent to two-and-a-half grand prix distances at the venue of next weekend’s season-opening race.

“Overall it was a very good first day,” said Verstappen on Friday. “I couldn’t really wish for more – I was actually wishing for less laps.

“But I did a lot of laps, everything went well. The balance was very nice. We tried quite a few things on the car, also for me to understand moving forward. We completed the whole program without any any problems so for me that was a really good day.”

The RB20 is visibly different from its dominant predecessor in several respects. Verstappen is confident his team has taken the right decision to be bold with its design.

“I trust the team that they make the right decisions in terms of choosing the direction of the car,” he said. “I saw, of course, how it was already drawn at the end of last year. But I honestly I don’t care how the car looks as long as it’s fast.”

Although he shook down the new car at Silverstone, Verstappen said he didn’t get a good impression of it until testing began.

“Unfortunately our filming day was wet, so you don’t really know anything. But as soon as I jumped in here, it felt pretty normal.

“It looks a bit different but it’s the direction that the team chose and I believe that’s the best direction to go into if they say so. From my side now, it’s all about just giving my feedback about balance of the car, what I think can be improved.”

After Verstappen headed the first day of testing, Red Bull fell to fourth place in the final ranking of lap times. But he is satisfied “the car is better than last year’s car” and the team will extract more performance from it.

“The team believes that with how the car is at the moment that there is more potential to find,” he said. “So that’s now up to us to unlock.”

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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...

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26 comments on “Verstappen’s first RB20 test was so productive “I was actually wishing for less laps””

    1. Ferrari and Mercedes have made a huge step forward so the first races are interesting enough Ferrari 1 lap pace is very good even beter then the RB20.

      1. @macleod we don’t actually know whether Ferrari have made a huge step forward – and Mercedes might well have, but then they were very far behind.

        The thing is that both Ferrari and Mercedes have made changes to move towards an RB19 influenced design, while the RB20 has explicitly moved away from that. For RBR to move away from a design direction which they were so dominant with last year, must mean that they trust there is a lot more performance te be found in their new development direction.

        If RBR are right about that, then everyone might be on the backfoot and back to square one.

        We will see the coming few weeks.

        1. RB moved to something new because they didn’t want a development race with the exact same ideas and concepts. It’s clear that copying them works as can be seen from McLaren and in a development race where teams are looking for the same thing, anything RB comes up with is a direct advantage to its competitors while the vice versa need not be true as RB might already have it.

          I simply see it as a case of trying to move away from the same development race. It’s easier to lose this way simply because cars will become closer very easily.

          1. I simply see it as a case of trying to move away from the same development race.

            Sure, but they are not going to move in a direction that they think is not inherently faster than the old concept. The goal is to keep winning, you’re not going to win with a slower concept than your old one if everyone is actually doing that old concept.

            So they absolutely do believe the new concept is faster or at least has more potential they can tap into.

  1. Which team set the fastest time on C3 during testing?

    1. Perez on day 2 with a 1’30.679. He’s definitely going to win the championship then! Really though, I think that all we can say from testing is that there are encouraging signs that the chasing pack will have closed in on Redbull slightly although we can’t possibly be sure. Ferarri may have improved race pace and RB may join the mix at the front.
      Last year they were beaten on rare off days in one sprint race and in Singapore, this year I think we can hope for a few more.

      I do hope Perez can snag a few more races on merit this year, hopefully something clicks for him.

  2. To be fair – 143 laps of Bahrain in testing conditions would be boring monotonous slog in any car. He should be grateful he’s not in a HAAS, it would take longer.

    1. Very good. I think modern F1 drivers are generally not keen on the monotony of testing – 20 years or so ago you would have the regular race drivers racking up hundreds of laps in between GP weekends, and test drivers even more. But I guess now that you can hop onto iRacing at any time and have an actual race with people from all over the world, the idea of spending your spare time testing loses its appeal.

    2. Could have been Qatar.

  3. World class trolling from the 2024 World Champion!?

    I’m waiting to see what happens in Bahrain before I commit to buying access to live TV coverage for F1. If it’s like last year I will just be watching the free to air highlights. :-(

  4. Humble isn’t a word that this chap is particularly familiar with, is it?

    1. @sham
      I guess it’s a culture thing. Because if you’d ask me, I honestly have no clue why you’d come to that conclusion from these answers

    2. because? other drivers, Hamilton included been saying this for years.

    3. @sham I see (as fellow Dutchmen ~ oldie) no problems with his answers they are respectfull and clear (direct) and truthfull. Or your comment was sarcasm meant? I never detect those on time ….

    4. Coventry Climax
      27th February 2024, 15:11

      What’s the difference between “My team makes no mistakes” and “I trust my team to make the right decisions”?
      The latter actually sounds more humble than the former.

  5. After Bahrain GP:
    “Verstappen’s first RB20 was so fast “I was actually wishing for less laps””

    After the 2024 season:
    “Verstappen’s first RB20 was so fast “I was actually wishing for less GPs””

  6. Max Verstappen – 2024 WDC

  7. During the Vettel / Red Bull years, ever succesive session the Red Bulls got further ahead as Newey refined the blown diffuser concept. Are we seeing a similar progression. Didn’t Vettel nearly lap the entire field in Canada?

    1. Canada 2013, only the top five cars finished on the lead lap. That was the only time Vettel won in Montreal for Red Bull.

      But the Vettel era wasn’t really defined by Red Bull getting further and further away from the competition. 2010 and 2012 were very close seasons (McLaren arguably had the faster car in 2012). 2011 was a dominant display by Red Bull, and 2013 was shaping up to be a season-long title fight with Ferrari until the tyre compounds were changed mid-season, after which Red Bull ran away with it. They certainly didn’t outclass the field in the way they have over the last couple of seasons.

      1. Didn’t Ferrari lose pace before the tyre change anyway. Doesn’t mean the change didn’t hurt then but I don’t think it was their only issue. 2012 was only closer for a while because the FIA brought in some restrictions on blown diffuser then then redbull clawed back what they lost.

    2. That was before Showbiz Cars.

  8. Nobody likes dominance until their team is dominating.

  9. This season’s gonna suck again, isn’t it?

    1. This season’s gonna suck again, isn’t it?

      Quote of the day, week, month, season.
      Still, just think of all the things we can get done in those 24 spare weekends

    2. It’s almost as if it’s the general nature of the sport to not be competitive most if the time

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