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Red Bull sim misaligned with F1 reality, Marko says

Red Bull sim misaligned with F1 reality, Marko says
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The perception of Red Bull's total dominance under the 'ground effect' regulations introduced in 2022 is finally being challenged.

The perception of Red Bull's total dominance under the 'ground effect' regulations introduced in 2022 is finally being challenged.

Ferrari and McLaren have already secured wins in 2024, and Charles Leclerc seems set for victory from pole in Monaco.

"To use Max's words, the car bounces like a kangaroo here," Red Bull consultant Dr. Helmut Marko told Sky Deutschland.

"We saw it in Miami and partially in Imola," he continued. "We must be sure that when we get to real tracks like Barcelona, we will regain our old form."

However, Frederic Vasseur, the team principal at Ferrari, indicated that Red Bull is under pressure across all venues.

"You don't know before qualifying anymore whether you will be first or seventh," he commented. "That is great for Formula 1 and it will continue like this until the end of the season."

Nevertheless, Leclerc maintains it's "too early to say" whether Max Verstappen and Red Bull can truly be overtaken in both the drivers' and constructors' standings.

"I think Red Bull has still got the strongest car on the grid," the Monaco pole-sitter observed. "However, it's true that on a track like this, they don't have the best car."

Verstappen, who only managed sixth on the grid after striking the wall during his last lap, remarked that the team "tried everything" to refine the car's performance. "The car just doesn't work at all," the triple world champion asserted.

"It's a fundamental problem with the car which will not be solved very quickly when dealing with bumps and kerbs. It honestly feels like a go-kart without any suspension," he explained.

Verstappen acknowledged that everyone in the team has known about the inherent design flaw of the car since 2022.

"We had a head-start with our car, so it wasn't so noticeable," he said. "Now that everyone is closing in and you don't address your weak point, then you get what happens this weekend."

Marko hinted that a more serious issue might be surfacing.

"The basic problem is that the correlation between the simulator and the track is not working," he pointed out. "On the simulator, we drive over the kerbs without any problems."

Additionally, it appears that Ferrari, McLaren, and even Mercedes have been developing their cars more assertively than Red Bull this year.

"We trust our development process," Paul Monaghan, chief engineer who is rumored to have just renewed his Red Bull contract, told Speed Week. "And we have plenty of new parts coming."

Yet, it is clear that after a lengthy spell of nearly flawless driving, Verstappen is now experiencing a particularly tumultuous weekend, including a significant impact with the barriers during the decisive phase of Q3.

"No, I wouldn't say it's my first mistake of the year," Verstappen confidently told Sky Italia. "And I'd like to invite anyone else in the paddock to try to go faster than me in this car here."

"I'm pushing the limit, but the car is terrible to drive this weekend."

Interestingly, Red Bull's recent downturn seems to align with Adrian Newey being absent from critical technical discussions at the circuits.

"He is still part of the team," team boss Christian Horner assures. "Just with limited tasks."

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Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi GP on November 25, 2023
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