Only Verstappen drove with new parts on his RB18 F1 car in Barcelona, but this was at the expense of reliability as demonstrated by repeated DRS failures during the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix. Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko lets on why the failures occurred.
Verstappens’ team mate Sergio Perez was able to open and close the rear wing without any problem, but for Max his drag reduction system would repeatedly flick open, then close again, preventing the Dutchman’s ability to pass on the main straight. In addition, an unforced error in turn four at the beginning of the race compounded his race and temporarily moved him from second to fourth place.
“At this pace of development, we can’t do everything for two cars,” says Marko explaining why Perez didn’t have the same DRS issue. The Mexican wasn’t running the same parts as Max Verstappen; the parts being a big weight reduction effort by Red Bull to bring the car closer to the minimum weight allowance.
“You have to start making the parts lighter when you admittedly have so much weight,” Marko explained. “There is a limit that has been crossed and then the parts bend or don’t have quite the stiffness anymore.”
“You have to calm him down,” Marko said of Verstappen’s radio frustration.
“I mean, we were surprised by this problem ourselves and you still have to make the best of it. When he didn’t press the button on the curb anymore, it worked honestly. He’s just an emotional racer, that’s fine.”
“We told him to stay calm and only press it once. Before that, he pressed the button several times so that the DRS closed again. Thank God it then opened once at the right moment.”
For Monaco, however, the DRS problem should be solved, according to Marko: “We now know where the problem is. There are still five days and a day has 24 hours for us, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”
For Marko, the Red Bull boss remains firm in the belief that Verstappen would’ve won the race even if Leclerc hadn’t have retired due to reliability issues:
“We initially had to drop back for temperature reasons because we wanted to save the tyres a bit.”
“We get the information about the tyre condition from the Ferraris and it was already much worse than ours at that point. So in race speed with DRS we think we would have passed.”