Red Bull has found itself in the middle of a fight with Ferrari for the world title of the 2022 Formula 1 season, and after three appointments they have managed to add a victory with Max Verstappen in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Although the energy drinks team has shown the pace to fight against those from Maranello head-to-head, they have had no luck with reliability, so the RB18 seems to be a rather fragile single-seater, having suffered three retirements in three tests.
The defending champion and Sergio Pérez had problems with the fuel pump in Bahrain in the final laps, depriving the Austrians of adding a second and fourth place, while in Australia it was the Dutchman who suffered a failure in the fuel system when he was on his way to a new second position.
This weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is the first European round of the season, prompting some teams to consider introducing significant upgrade packages to their cars in a bid to close the gap on their rivals.
However, Red Bull chief Christian Horner balked at suggestions that they might land at Imola with a major upgrade, noting that the sprint race format limited the grand prix.
“I wouldn’t say there’s been a big package planned, it’s all part of the evolution,” the Briton said when asked if Red Bull had any news planned for race four.
“Of course, being a sprinter, you have little time to assess these things, so we have one session to get to qualifying. You have to be very sure of what you put in the car,” added Horner.
The teams will have a single hour of free practice on the Friday before they enter the well-known parc fermé , which prevents them from changing the settings when they leave for the qualifying session.
Verstappen and Perez struggled with the balance of the RB18 in Melbourne, falling far behind the weekend’s dominator, Charles Leclerc. The Red Bull boss said understanding such setbacks was “part of the evolution and development of the cars” under the new 2022 technical regulations.
“I think as we learn more about the tires and the performance of the car, that gives you a direction of development,” said the Englishman. “In the first three races we were on the right track for the rest of the season.”
Ferrari’s F1-75 benefited from additional time in the wind tunnel over Red Bull for finishing behind in past seasons, so it was able to move faster under aerodynamic rules that have completely changed the category.
Horner was encouraged by the fact that his team was in the fight against the Italians with an RB18 that began to develop later, since in 2021 they had to dedicate great efforts in their fight against Mercedes for the drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
“They started this project long before us, so to a certain extent we are playing catch up. The fact that we are in second position is encouraging, and I think we are beginning to understand some of the problems that we have.” the head of the whole of Milton Keynes.