Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2024

Verstappen sees “no real clear direction or solution” to Red Bull’s handling woes

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen says Red Bull will struggle to fight for victory in Monaco this weekend as the street circuit plays into inherent weaknesses with their car.

The world champion ended Friday’s day of practice fourth-fastest, half a second off the best lap from Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari – one of three teams who produced laps quicker than Red Bull.

Verstappen fought with his car across both sessions as he struggled for balance around the slow, high-downforce circuit. He admitted he was not entirely sure what was causing the problems with the handling of his RB20.

“I don’t think I even can describe what is actually going on,” he told the official F1 channel. “It was just very difficult.

“It’s not something that I didn’t expect, but it’s definitely at the higher end of, let’s say, the worst possible outcome of the weekend so far. It’s just very difficult.

“There are a lot of bumps and kerbs and camber changes as well in the track and, for us, that is basically impossible to take. Every time that we go over it, we lose a lot of lap time just because the car doesn’t ride it well. That is definitely hampering us at the moment to go faster. There’s also, I think, no real clear direction or solution for the weekend, to try and solve something like that.”

The championship leader was in a similar position last Friday after the opening day of practice in Imola, unhappy with the balance of his car. However, he recovered to take pole position on Saturday before holding off Lando Norris in the race to win by under a second. This weekend in Monaco, Verstappen does not expect to be able to salvage his prospects in a similar fashion.

“Imola was completely different,” he said. “Also different issues that you can solve with set-up.

“These kind of things, you cannot solve with set-up, because that’s how the car is made and designed and these kind of things you cannot change overnight. So we are stuck with that. We’ll try to make it a little bit better, but I don’t expect any miracles.”

Asked whether he felt it would be possible to contend for pole position in Saturday’s crucial qualifying session, Verstappen said he would be surprised to find a solution to his concerns with the Red Bull around Monaco by tomorrow.

“I’m not even thinking about that for tomorrow,” he said. “I just want to try and solve the issues that we have, try to make it a little bit more driveable. And then we’ll see where we end up. But I don’t expect any miracles.”

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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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20 comments on “Verstappen sees “no real clear direction or solution” to Red Bull’s handling woes”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    24th May 2024, 20:12

    Are Red Bull starting to sandbag like Mercedes used to so the rules won’t get changed?

    1. @come-on-kubica why would they bother to do so?

      Given the FIA is already planning a major change in regulations for 2025, they are unlikely to bother introducing major rule changes for 2025. The other teams are unlikely to want to lobby for a major rule change in 2025, given it would hurt their development programmes for 2026, and even if the FIA did want to make a major rule change, it’d only really impact the 2025 season at most.

      1. I think the FIA has forbidden teams from working on their 2026 car until 2025.

    2. Are Red Bull starting to sandbag like Mercedes used to, so the rules won’t get changed?

      Remaining with the cynical mode, I was leaning toward the idea that they would miraculously fix the problem overnight with no input from Adrian and thus prove how wonderful everyone else in the engineering team are, but I seem to have been out cyniced by you and Ben.

    3. Already after 2 years and a bit of an advantage? Mercedes had 8 years straight in a row. Hardly comparable. I guess what it does tell is the ones panicing and screaming about the alleged RB dominance, will get proven wrong.

      1. 1s+ to all other teams for more than 2 years is not a bit of an advantage. All the more as there never was a time with more reliability than in the last couple of years.

  2. Max wasn’t stellar in Monaco last year, in qualy at least. He got the pole because Alonso left a lot of time on the table on the last sector. On race day he was much faster than Alonso.

    If anyone wants to take this from him, tomorrow is the day. In race trim he’s probably still much superior.

    1. Albeit, in Monaco, being superior in race trim wouldn’t be enough to overtake on merit.

      1. There’s still the possibility to jump the opponent in the pits if there’s a significant pace advantage.

      2. i meant that tomorrow is the day to win the race. He isn’t losing this if he can unleash the pace of the car. Just like in Singapore last year, in which they were terrible on qualy then the car switched on mid race and he was the fastest man on track but it was too late to challenge for the win.

  3. If Max misses pole, then we will not break the record for most consecutive polls; he will remain tied with the GOATs.
    If Max is close, I think the others will let him capture pole.

    1. Are pigs flying? On another topic, what’s with not being able to log in?

      1. It’s been going on for a few days now, and probably the website admins don’t read comments, we also don’t talk about it frequently enough, someone should probably send them a mail to bring it to the attention, I don’t even think it’s possible to post on forum to warn them as we can’t log in even there.

        1. I don’t even think it’s possible to post on forum to warn them as we can’t log in even there

          Have you tried following the link at the foot of the article,”Read more about Will Wood, find all their articles and get in touch with them
          first link in that page is the mailto: contact link for the author.

  4. We’ve seen it before and apparently history repeats itself. Championship winning cars usually struggle in Monaco. If your car shines here it’s probably not optimized well for the variety of true racetracks. This is one specific track, without comparison and yes, Max will struggle here but we will see the usual scenes very soon.

  5. Maybe not downtuning the engine would help with another second of laptime. Otherwise change your *beep* car (not to repeat the bullies swear words).

  6. A top three finish would be stellar to keep his nr of podiums achieved running. A win is not in the cards this time. I’d go for Leclerc for pole and the win. Maybe together with Alonso and Hamilton, the old foxes. Would make a nice podium

  7. The real question is what did they HAVE TO CHANGE, and why? There have been no public statements on any infringements spotted by the FIA, and yet that’s kind of implied with this sudden change in the car’s performance.

    Were they forced to change something because of a technical infringement?

    1. Or maybe they were trying to follow the recent Mercedes suspension changes and now can’t change back for cost reasons.

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