In the “ServusTV program Sport and Talk from Hangar-7”, Helmut Marko analyzes Max Verstappen’s race at the British Grand Prix and is certain: the Dutchman would have won easily if it weren’t for a part of Yuki Tsunoda’s rear wing RB18 would have wedged.
On lap ten, Verstappen was able to take the lead of the race after a driving error by Carlos Sainz. With the Red Bull clearly dominating the race pace, everything looked as if the remaining 42 laps would be a triumph for the Dutchman.
“We would have driven a two-stop race because we had two sets of medium tires, so that would have been a mowed meadow,” says Marko. “We saw that we are faster than the Ferraris, so we would have won the race in a superior manner.”
But as a result of the internal AlphaTauri collision between Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly, part of the Japanese AT03 fell onto the track, which Verstappen ran over shortly afterwards and unfortunately got tangled in the RB18.
“That got awkwardly wedged”
Marko explains: “Max’s first reaction was: The car can no longer be steered. Of course you assume that it’s a puncture. We got it in immediately, but looking back it wasn’t right because of the pit stop he was so quick and so upset that he [in der Boxeneinfahrt verbremst und] slammed a flat tire on this very good set of medium tyres. That set of tires was gone.”
“So it was a mistake on his part, but understandable in the situation afterwards. Then our engineers looked through everything and determined the operational safety of the car. And ultimately it was part of Tsunoda’s ‘rear endplate’. That’s the side part on the rear wing.” , says Marco.
“It jammed stupidly. The whole downforce is controlled by these channels and airflow and it jammed in such a way that we lost more than 20 percent of the contact pressure. In lap times, this was noticeable between one and a half and two seconds,” explains Red Bull’s motorsport consultant.
Red Bull considered giving up
He also says that Red Bull has thought about shutting down Verstappen’s RB18 and saving engine power. In the end, however, with seventh place he took six important points for the world championship.
“We fell further and further behind and this non-existent driving behavior was much more noticeable on the hard tyres. And then the consideration was: Should we park the car? We have limitations in engine performance, so that we save it for more critical ones situations and the like,” explains Marko.
“But then a very clear decision was made: As long as we’re in the points, we’ll continue. Then certain parts or units have increased in temperature, so we’ve got another problem.”
According to Marko, the driving behavior of the Verstappen car improved after the last pit stop on the soft tires: “You saw how he made up places and finally fought with Schumacher. And ultimately it was the right decision to continue driving as long as he did we’re in the points and as long as we don’t risk a technical defect.”