Red Bull dominated the first GP, held in Bahrain, in a manner reminiscent of Mercedes’ șingle-seaters from 2014-2020 or even RB’s from the Vettel era. The Austrian team dominated hostilities in both qualifying and the race, and at no point did they șhow weakness. In this article we analyze what are the ștrengths of the RB19.
„Red Bull, they have this championship,” reflected Mercedes’ George Russell after the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. „I don’t think anyone will challenge them this year and I expect them to win… They should to win every race thiș șeason is my bet” George Russell, Mercedeș.
The 2022 world champion team perfectly anticipated this year’s new regulation. The chassis, dubbed the RB19, is a massive improvement over its predecessor. With incredible dominance in both testing and the first GP, the team from Milton Keynes looks invincible at the moment.
The RB19 has a changed character this year. It has superior traction and a higher level of downforce, especially on the much improved front axle. The single-seater seems capable on all circuits and doesn’t seem to have any weak points. Drag is comparable to its predecessor and DRS is the strongest, with top speed only slightly lower than the Ferraris, which have a more powerful engine.
The setup window appears to be a wide one. The single-seater managed to prevail on all asphalt conditions on the Bahrain circuit, regardless of the session. On a qualifying lap, the RB19 was the most stable and Max Verstappen juggled the corners, having a different route in 9 to approach a perfect pass in the critical turn 10. Overall, Red Bull grabbed the medium and fast corners, it was on par with the Aston Martin on the slows and didn’t lose much on the straight compared to the Ferrari.
In the race, the drivers looked even more dominant. Perez sat in the box in the first stint, then easily overtook Charles Leclerc to secure second place. With Max Verstappen (who wasn’t even used too hard) and Perez in the lead, the team managed the race without a problem.
After the last pit, the team changed the mapping to a much lower one, and Max Verstappen was asked by his engineer to reduce the pace. Even with these practices, Alonso finished 3rd almost 38 seconds from the leader. For the Austrian team, what stood out the most was the flawless management of the tires, again superior to anyone else’s. To highlight this we will show data from the 3 stints in Max Verstappen’s car.
First stint (Tours 1-14)
- Round 2: 1.37.9
- Round 7: 1.38.0ship, FIA WRC,
- Round 13: 1.38.4
Second stint (Tours 15-36)
- Round 16: 1.37.8
- Round 25: 1.37.3
- Round 35: 1.37.8
Third stint (Tours 37-57)
- Round 38: 1.36.2
- Round 49: 1.36.9
- Round 57: 1.36.3
This data reveals that Max Verstappen did not force the tires at all. The most impressive is the second stint, with used soft tires. The variation was only 0.5s/lap and, in lap, the world champion had a time equal to that of the first lap of the stint. This observation denotes that the time gained with the fuel drop is at least equal to the lap time lost by the tires.
For the rivals, the situation becomes even more worrying when we also compare the times of Sergio Perez, who is not such a skilled driver in tire management. The Mexican ran like a Swiss watch in the last stint, with almost all laps under 1.37.0.
In this context, it is clear that Red Bull owns the benchmark single-seater from this start of the season. The road to the world titles is a very long one, and Ferrari, Mercedes or even Aston Martin could recover from the gap, especially since they have more time in the wind tunnel. We will highlight better in the articles dedicated to these teams.
In Jeddah we do not expect to see a different situation. The Ferrari drivers may have a lead in qualifying, but Red Bull’s race pace seems intangible at the moment. A second start of the season can be represented by the stage in Azerbaijan, where several teams will bring components or even new concepts.
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