Formula 1: Red Bull counters Ferrari accusation

For a long time it seemed like a duel among gentlemen. The close battle between Ferrari and Red Bull in the first races of the new Formula 1 season not only thrilled fans around the world with a duel on an equal footing, but also with the fairness. In recent years, Red Bull has been fighting with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton both on the track and verbally, but world champion Max Verstappen (23) and Ferrari challenger Charles Leclerc of the same age have so far tackled each other with kid gloves. In the close duels, they always gave each other fair space and nobody missed the opportunity to praise the other in the highest tones after the fights.

Even more: Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko (78) also praised this year’s competitor Ferrari over the green clover at Newsabc. “Ferrari has the same DNA as we do,” analyzed the honorary citizen of his hometown of Graz. “We are both racers. It’s all about the sport for us. It was something different with Mercedes.”

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But: During the race in Miami and afterwards there were the first cracks in the love relationship, which was unusual by Formula 1 standards. The first poison darts flew – in both directions. Red Bull made the start. Background: After the race in Imola, there was a test by tire monopolist Pirelli. Both Ferrari and Red Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri took part. The purpose of these tests is to further develop the tires. However, it is forbidden for the teams to collect data for their own vehicle developments. But that’s exactly what Ferrari could have done, it was suspected at Red Bull. The Austrians reported to the world association FIA that the Scuderia had driven with two different underbodies. Alpha Tauri spies had previously reported this to the Red Bull engineers.

The FIA ​​dutifully asked Ferrari during the Miami GP and was satisfied with the answer. The Italians admitted to having been on the road with different underbodies. But both parts had already been in use before. This circumstance in turn makes the underbody exchange legal.

Ferrari is surprised at Red Bull’s pace in further developing the Formula 1 car.

After the race in Miami, in which Verstappen won with ease, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto came back with the tit-for-tat. The race director explained that Red Bull had recently brought several updates and gained “a few tenths” as a result. In this context, he recalled the budget ceiling. Background: This year, teams are not allowed to spend more than $140 million. “If there’s a concern, it’s how much they’re developing considering the budget cap — that’s certainly an issue,” Binotto said.

The notice is also to be understood as a request to the FIA. The rule-keepers should check whether Red Bull is sticking to the budget limit. Binotto: “At some point Red Bull will have to stop development because there is a budget limit. If not, I don’t understand how they can do it.” According to the Scuderia team boss, it is not financially possible to maintain this pace. Ferrari would therefore have only brought very manageable updates so far.

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Only at the next race in Barcelona will the Italians come with their first major development package, which should make up for the deficit to Red Bull. Alone: ​​Red Bull is also back in Spain. Chief adviser Helmut Marko on Newsabc: “We’re starting there with new parts that will finally allow us to reach our optimum weight. So far, we’ve been relatively well above the required minimum weight of 798 kilograms.”

One thing is certain: the Italians seem nervous. With Charles Leclerc, they are ahead in the drivers’ standings and are also leaders in the team standings. What worries you: Verstappen won the last two races, he won a total of three times. Whenever he crossed the finish line, the Dutchman was in the lead. The world champion reduced the gap to Leclerc to 19 points. In terms of teams, Red Bull is only six points behind the Italians. The trend therefore speaks clearly for the Austrians.

Charles Leclerc is ahead in the drivers’ standings.

Helmut Marko brushes aside all suspicions that Red Bull could circumvent the budget limit at Newsabc: “Ferrari and we are on an equal footing. In future, it will be who gets the best out of the package on the respective race track that will make the difference. We are still looking forward to it in the big fight and fully trust the FIA, which makes sure that everything goes right.”

One thing is certain: the air is getting thinner in the fight for the title. And whether Verstappen and Leclerc will leave enough space in the future seems doubtful. Ex-Formula 1 driver Marc Surer suspects at Newsabc: “I don’t know how the two will deal with each other when it comes to the decisive phase.” The Swiss also predicts that Mercedes will soon be back in the title fight can. Surer: “I believe that Mercedes will be strong in the race after next in Monaco. You have an extremely good car for this narrow street circuit. If I’m right, the fight for the world championship will take on a whole new dimension.”

Formula 1 on TV

In 2022, Formula 1 will run on Sky. Last year, the broadcaster introduced a new TV channel especially for the premier class: Sky Formula 1. Here there is motorsport 24 hours a day. All practice sessions, all qualifying sessions, all races are always live and without commercial breaks. In addition, Sky also broadcasts the support races Formula 2, Formula 3 and the Porsche Supercup. Historical races and special programs are also on the programme.

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