Valtteri Bottas’ dominant victory in the Turkish GP, played last Sunday (10), turned on a yellow light in Red Bull’s garage. This is because the pace of the Austrian team’s cars could not keep up with that presented by Mercedes during the dispute at Istanbul Park, and the Finn’s leadership was not threatened during the stage. After the race, Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko recognized the difference presented by the German team’s cars, and asked his team to find answers.
“I don’t think Mercedes has done anything illegal,” began the Austrian leader. “But there’s been something weird since Silverstone. So now it’s our responsibility to investigate why they’re suddenly so fast. Is it just the engine or is there something else? We have to work night and day to discover their secrets and then respond. As fast as we can. It depends on us”, he said.
Marko’s main concern, of course, is the title shot. The consultant questions whether the Mercedes performance difference was only due to the characteristics of the Turkish circuit’s layout, or whether it will be something repeated until the end of the season. The manager also believes that, from the six remaining stages until the end of the championship, the German team tends to present superior performance in at least four.
“If the performance gap remains as we saw in Istanbul, we have a problem,” he admitted. “Of the six circuits, only Mexico and São Paulo play a little in our favor because of the altitude. The rest clearly looks like Mercedes territory at the moment,” he lamented.
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One of the main changes noted by Marko was the relationship between power and fuel consumption in Mercedes cars. According to him, the German team could improve performance with empty tanks, progressively improving performance during the race.
“Especially with an empty tank, they were far superior to us,” said the Austrian. “At the beginning of the race, we were still on pace. that’s why [Lewis] Hamilton had so many problems against [Yuki] Tsunoda. Later, when Hamilton arrived at the [Pierre] Gasly, it went easy as if he [Gasly] was parked,” he finished.