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Red Bull 'disappointed, not surprised' by gap to Mercedes

  • Published on 18 Jul 2020 13:47
  • comments 5
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull is feeling disappointed after the opening two races of the 2020 Formula 1 season, which has left it 53 points down on championship leaders Mercedes.

The energy drink-backed squad was being tipped to challenge for the world titles this year but endured a difficult opening race in Austria with both cars dropping out of the running.

At the second race in Spielberg, Max Verstappen managed to secure a podium finish, however Mercedes took a one-two finish to strengthen its lead in the championship fight.

The German manufacturer was also unchallenged on its way to both pole positions at the Red Bull Ring.

Speaking ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan said when asked if he is surprised at the gap to Mercedes: “A little bit disappointed is, I should think, the correct answer as opposed to surprised.

“It’s interesting, isn’t it? You do your most diligent job with a team of very skilled people and you put your car on the track and you’re judged relative to your opposition. In pre-season, it looked like we were close, a sniff behind perhaps.

“The first Austria race wasn’t terribly kind to us. All credit to everyone in the team, they pulled together and sorted it out for the next race. OK, we’re on the podium but we’re a little bit behind them. It’s all work to do now. We have to try to catch them.”

However, Monaghan denies that the situation is worrying for Red Bull, insisting that the team is capable of rising to the bar set by Mercedes in F1.

“I don’t think I would describe this as worrying. I think what it is, is it’s set the bar that we’ve got to develop faster than Mercedes to challenge them for the championship. We can do that, we have done that in the past.

“Can we do it again? I think it’s entirely within our grasp but it also depends on what Mercedes do. So worrying? No. Challenging? Yes, enormously.

“We’ll working with Honda and we’ll make the package as good as we can and if that means we can catch the Mercedes, great, and… It doesn’t actually change what we’re going to do, it more just defines how much we have to catch them by and then it’s down to them as well.”

Replies (5)

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  • RogerF1

    Posts: 501

    Here’s a thought. For all the years Merc. have hit the top, even with a not very good ‘car’ on some circuits a couple of seasons back. Do they have an ‘ace up their sleeve’ akin to Ferrari’s engine last season but it’s a technical / engineering / software feature that’s ‘in the grey zone’ so not outwardly against the rule book but not readily evident to scrutineers, (if you get my drift). Seems a tad surprising for such a power dominance to not be seriously challenged throughout this current hybrid era. Can’t honestly believe the technical abilities of the likes of Ferrari and Honda are that incapable and (maybe) Renault. What do people think? This train of thought popped up again listening to FP3 and both Mercs spurting a momentary apparent oil burn whiff.

    • + 1
    • Jul 18 2020 - 15:09
    • MarkZ

      Posts: 31

      I dig what you're saying. Sort of like last year when they went after Ferrari for their "fast" car.

      • + 0
      • Jul 18 2020 - 17:30
    • RogerF1

      Posts: 501

      Maybe UK listeners on ‘5 Live’ Qualifying heard commentators asking/saying “how have Merc. stayed ahead throughout this era’?

      • + 0
      • Jul 18 2020 - 18:48
    • f1ski

      Posts: 726

      I have posted numerous times the inequity that the turbo hybrid era has created. First they are allowed to maintain an advantage for three years. Ferrari figures out a way to catch them but gets called out . This year in Austria the MB power unit in the racing point puts out lots of smoke off throttle thru the corners. Hamiltons car doing the same this weekend. Could it be like the Ferrari and oil injection that the MB is getting more power by appoaching ideal stoichiometric and increasing oil pressure during the lean out time to increase oil burn to protect the motor. Last year i recall hamilton crying like a baby asking for more power. He knew he had more but they wouldn't give it to him. 7 tenths of a second isn't from chassis superiority. My favorite saying 2 types of racers cheaters and losers

      • + 1
      • Jul 18 2020 - 21:16
    • Snooky

      Posts: 121

      While I wouldn’t be surprised if what you’re saying is true, do have to remember that Merc were developing the type of ICE with the precombustion chambers for many years before the hybrid era came to be. Ferrari caught on a few years into the era and went down this route. When Renault and Honda we’re struggling with their engines Merc were asked to help out and give tips and now all the teams use this method as it helped close the gap from the first few years. Baring that in mind, Merc have been developing the engines for years longer than the others and refining the techniques used in the ICE. The other manufactures are still playing catch up and now stuck on a path that merc created for them, while it helped in the short term, who’s to say Honda initial micro engine wouldn’t have worked out and been better in time? May not have been Mercs intentions, but leading everyone down their path hurt their dominance over many years

      • + 0
      • Jul 18 2020 - 23:56

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