The war of words between the F1 title contending teams has begin early this year. As Red Bull have fought back strongly from Ferrari’s lightening start to the Formula 1 season, eyebrows have been raised and questions muttered about the number of developments Red Bull are bringing.
Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto observed following the latest Max Verstappen win in Miami, “[Red Bull] have introduced upgrades and, if I look at the last two races, maybe they’ve gone a couple of tenths per lap faster than us. It’s no doubt that, in order to keep the pace, we need to develop ourselves, including upgrades. I hope, because there is a budget cap, that at some stage Red Bull will stop developing, otherwise I think I will not understand how they can do that.”
Clearly an early shot across Red Bull’s bows.
The new cost cap rules are still embryonic and no one can be yet certain how the FIA will police this properly. That said we are led to believe that breaking the spending limit could see teams deducted points.
Yet Christian Horner is not concerned, he believes their upgrades so far have come at little cost to the budget as much of the improvement is due to weight saving. But the RB18 is believed to be dropping another 7 kilos for this weekend’s race in Spain according to F1 analyst Paolo Filisetti.
Horner concurs; “We need to improve [in] the slow stuff (corners). We need to lose a couple of kilos off the car; tyre degradation is then the result of weight.”
“It’s all those little incremental gains that you’re always chasing.”
However, the RB18 philosophy is based on being quick in a straight line, and Horner thinks Red Bull will struggle to beat them in Monaco where the Italian car has better slow corner traction. “…in Monaco they’ll, for example, have a significant advantage.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re versatile with those kinds of tracks coming up.”
Red Bull have closed the gap in the constructors’ title race to just 6 points and despite 2 DNF’s, Verstappen is now less than a race win behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.