Max Verstappen is pleased with the pre-season tests and the new Red Bull RB16 as they tried everything they wanted and showed good speed, but he is aware that the car needs a lot of improvement at this early stage.
Red Bull drove the second highest number of laps in the first week, but fell drastically from 471 to 309 laps in the second week, although this is still 86.38% of Mercedes laps.
Verstappen totaled 414 laps, 52 less than leading Hamilton, and on the last day of testing put a few very fast laps on C4 tyres, with less than a tenth slower lap than the fastest Bottas.
Red Bull brought a new aerodynamic package the second week that included a new front wing, new sidepod vanes, new boomerang wings and a new diffuser, and drivers were pleased with the improvements.
“I definitely feel ready for Melbourne and the last two weeks have been a good preparation,” said Verstappen.
“We tried everything we wanted to over the six days which is very important from our side, so I’m happy with that. Overall, I can’t complain but that doesn’t mean we should stop the hard work and there are always things to improve.”
“Me and Alex had a few moments but I’m not worried and I want to find the limit of the car in testing instead of at the first race. It’s better this way rather than being caught out and realising there is more pace in the car in Melbourne.”
“Mercedes also look very fast as expected but I don’t really look too much at them as nobody knows exactly what they are doing, so it’s better to focus on ourselves. Overall I think the pace looks pretty good, it’s been a positive start and I hope it’s enough to be competitive in Melbourne.”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin
“Generally the plan for today was to give the drivers some practice time in the car ahead of Melbourne and that went well,” said Rocquelin.
“We experimented with a set-up option overnight which didn’t quite work out as we had planned but that proved no issue as that’s what testing is for. We’re quite happy with the balance and performance, particularly when we reverted back to a decent baseline in the afternoon which Max was pleased with.”
“We feel between the reliability and long runs we completed in the first week, and the performance tests in the second, we’re quite well prepared for the first race of the season in Australia.”
“Obviously, this year we had six days of testing instead of eight to tick off all the jobs on our list and I think we approached this with a good structure and discipline which meant we were able to make the most of the time given to us.”