The Red Bull Racing Formula One team underestimated Honda’s progress ahead of their first season and designed their 2019 F1 car with too little downforce to compensate for the expected power deficit, admitted their motorsport adviser Helmut Marko.
After years of working with Renault, which earned them four consecutive double titles from 2010 to 2013, Red Bull switched to Honda for 2019 after Toro Rosso already used their power units in 2018.
The new collaboration has won their first podium in Australia thanks to Verstappen’s third place, and the same driver gave Honda their first victory since returning to F1 in 2015 as an engine manufacturer at the Red Bull home race in Austria.
Verstappen secured another win in the wet race in Germany before earning his first pole position in Hungary, which was also the first pole for Red Bull Honda.
Helmut Marko admits that Red Bull did not expect Honda to progress so quickly as they designed their RB15 with too little downforce, aiming for aerodynamic efficiency to compensate for the expected lack of power.
“We designed the car with too little downforce, we underestimated the progress of our new engine partner,” he said.
“They delivered more power than we expected.”
“That’s why at first we wanted to compensate for the lack of power with the chassis, which is very aerodynamically efficient, but we corrected that.”
“In the last few races we are almost at Mercedes level. We definitely caught up with Ferrari. ”
“I think we will be competitive on any type of track in the second part of the season.”
Red Bull have scored 107 points in the last four races, 17 more than Ferrari, though Gasly has only brought them 26 points during that period.
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