Red Bull’s Adrian Newey has claimed that the team are not as dominant as their rivals fear, and their season-opening Bahrain GP win was not “smooth.”
Max Verstappen began the defence of his title and his pursuit of a third consecutive F1 championship by sauntering to victory in Bahrain from pole position, ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.
Mercedes’ George Russell said afterwards that Red Bull are guaranteed to win the 2023 championship and might win every race, such is their dominance.
But chief technical officer Newey told Sky Sports ahead of the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: “I’m sure we won’t be as strong as that week in, week out.
“In Bahrain it was one of those sort of typical ducks’ feet paddling under the water!
“It wasn’t quite as smooth inside as it might have looked.
“We go back to 12 months ago and it’s the other way around. Ferrari finish one-two, we failed, we weren’t quite as quick as them, so these things can swing round very quickly. We’ve just got to keep pushing and we’ll see where we get to.
“If we had more wind tunnel time we’d use it, so other teams having more than us must help them.
“It’s going to be a long year, 23 races, we’ve only got one down so everybody will be pushing.”
The penalty from breaking the 2021 F1 cost cap means that Red Bull will be prohibited from less wind tunnel time to continue developing their car, but at first glance they appear insurmountably ahead of their opponents.
In Bahrain it was Aston Martin who surprisingly became their biggest foes, and the team bankrolled by Lawrence Stroll will hope to continue their punchy development by fighting for the podium again in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
Meanwhile, Verstappen has delayed his arrival at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after suffering a stomach bug.
The double world champion said on Twitter he was recovering but would not turn up at Jeddah’s floodlit Corniche street circuit until today, when practice starts.
“Feeling fine again, after not being fit for a few days because of a stomach bug,” Verstappen told his 3.2 million followers.
“Therefore, I unfortunately had to postpone my flight for a day, so I won’t be on the track until Friday.”