The Milton Keynes-based team found their chances against Ferrari at the start of the season compromised by the fact that their car was well over the minimum weight limit – with some suggestions being that it was up to 10kg too heavy.
The extra weight not only had a direct impact on lap time – with 10kg equating to around 0.3 seconds per lap – but also had consequences for tire degradation.
The team have been working hard to make their RB18 components lighter and a host of changes made for last weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix appear to have had a positive impact.
Along with Max Verstappen securing pole position, the sprint victory and leading home a 1-2 from Sergio Perez on Sunday, it was the first weekend of the year that Red Bull had better tire management than Ferrari. .
Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko thought the changes the team had made to the car had helped the result, but he says the quest to remove even more weight was not yet over.
“The updates we made to the track this weekend all worked well,” he told Motorsport.com.
“The car has lost weight, but we still have work to do in this area. We are still above the FIA minimum weight.
“That means we need to work towards that number in stages. But that’s normal. At Weight Watchers, you don’t lose all your weight all at once either.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Verstappen himself was unsure how much the weight loss had improved Red Bull’s Imola form, but he said it was obvious the RB18 was better than he was at the start of the season. ‘year.
“We have made improvements, but I don’t know, of course, how much it has really brought us because of the eventful weekend with the rain and dry weather,” he explained.
“It’s very difficult to judge, but we were certainly a little better controlled than Australia. So I’m very happy with how we performed all weekend.
“We were on top of everything and sometimes that’s more important than bringing something new. I guess time will tell now in the races to come how much the improvements benefit us.
Marko added that the nature of the team’s triumph at Imola was a big boost for the team after a year when it looked like it might struggle to hold on to Ferrari.
“This weekend is extremely important for the morale of our team. We have now proven that we definitely have a competitive package for this year,” he said.
“We were faster than Ferrari here. We put the tires in the right window and our overall execution, including finding the right balance in the car, was much better this weekend than in Australia. Basically Ferrari had the problems we had in Australia. »