Red Bull 'in control' of F1 title 'destiny' as Imola upgrades planned

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

In terms of the Formula 1 championship, Red Bull says their "destiny is in our control" this year.

Traditionally slow to start the season, instead, the Anglo-Austrian team set the pace at the Bahrain Grand Prix, claiming pole for the opening race for the first time since 2013.

In the race, however, Mercedes hit back, as a different strategy gave Lewis Hamilton the track position to controversially hold off Max Verstappen in the closing laps.

“The car was capable of being quicker over the race, so the disappointment within the garage was palpable," Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan admitted.

Also Read:

"Yet we are disappointed at being second. Many people would give up an awful lot to have a trophy and 18 points from one driver.

“When one overcomes the initial disappointment, we’ve got a good car, a motivated pair of drivers, a motivated team and if we win [in Imola] this will be forgotten and we’ll just review it as history and we have to move on.

“The prize at the end of the year is very much within the grasp at the moment, for ourselves and Mercedes. Others will challenge, [but] it gives the realisation that we can challenge.”

While Red Bull does have the early performance advantage over Mercedes, Monaghan revealed, in the short-term at least, further upgrades are coming for the RB16B.

"Some developments are already in the pipeline for Imola, more for subsequent races, so it’s now a two-pronged fight," he stated.

"We need this car to be put down on the ground and run and give us no hiccups. We will put as much performance onto the car as we possibly can by Imola.

"Our destiny is in our control and we can’t influence what Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari and everybody else want to do. So we’ve got to remain focused."

Following the race, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko revealed Verstappen was hampered by differential issues and a cautious engine mode, costing him several tenths per lap.

However, the Austrian was also surprised by the single-lap pace, this after Max had taken pole by almost four-tenths of a second.

“We thought we were two-tenths ahead,” the Austrian told

The main reason for Red Bull and Mercedes seemingly swapping positions is the floor changes for 2021, where the high-rake approach on the RB16B has been much less affected than the W12.

“That (the high-rake) has always been our philosophy and with the relatively minor changes, it was even more logical from our point of view,” Marko said.

“In fast corners, our concept should show even more clearly and here there are no really fast corners that challenge the chassis.

“We now simply have a car that works all round.”

Red Bull also highlight the significant power unit gains for 2021 as a key reason for their strong performance.

“It’s not just in terms of horsepower and driveability that the new Honda engine has improved," Marko added. "We certainly have the narrowest rear end – that’s all possible thanks to the Honda engine.”