Red Bull details extent of damage to Verstappen’s RB16
July 14, 2020
Max Verstappen ran much of Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix in a solid second place, but the Red Bull lost out in the final laps to a late challenge from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas
The team subsequently explained that Verstappen had been suffering from damage to his front and rear wings and also to his bargeboard, all of which affected the handling of the car towards the end of the race. Not that he gave up easily when the Finn came calling.
“I had a lap of fighting with Valtteri,” he said after the race. “My tyres were pretty dead at that point and I knew he was going to pass me.
Verstappen: ‘We’re just too slow – more work needed’
“But I wasn’t going to make it easy and had a bit of fun re-passing him around the outside. I had nothing to lose as there was such a big gap behind so there was no risk.”
He added that third place was realistically the best he could have done on the day. “We maximised the result with the podium and it’s of course good to be back up there, but we were just too slow to really fight for the win.”
Team principal Christian Horner confirmed that Verstappen had been handicapped by his front wing suffering damage after running over the notoriously aggressive kerbing at the Red Bull Ring.
“It was on the kerbs here, on the exit of turn 9,” he said. “The guys in the operations room immediately saw the loss of downforce.
“We couldn’t see how much damage it had done until the car came into parc ferme at the end of the race.”
Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan said that post-race analysis showed that the car had initially sustained damage to the right-hand endplate.
The endplate then became lodged in the bargeboard of the RB16, further affecting the handling of the car and putting more stress on the tyres.
“Not only have we got bits of stuff hanging out of the bottom of the front wing endplate on track, we’ve now got a bargeboard with a dirty bit of footplate in it from the front wing,” Monaghan told Crash.net.
“And we’ve incurred a little bit of damage on the rear wing,” he revealed. “I suspect some pieces have vibrated and detached’
“The condition in which we released the car into the race has not matched the condition in which we’ve received the car back post race!” he summarised.
But the team wasn’t able to say whether Verstappen would have been able to to hold on to second place if not for the damage to his car.
“It was a significant shift, but what effect that had on tyre life we need to look closely at the data to understand,” said Horner.
Although the team felt they had closed the gap to Mercedes with a number of upgrades in the week since the season opener, Horner admitted that there was little more they could have done against the overwhelming dominance of their rivals this time out.
“It has been a huge team effort from everyone back at the factory who enabled us to bring upgrades this weekend in order to close the gap and we will continue to push on all fronts,” he said.
“Whilst it’s good to get our first podium of the season, it’s frustrating to not quite have the pace to challenge for the win today. Mercedes were quicker than us and strategically they had more options.
“Now our focus is on Hungary where we hope to close the gap further.”
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