Formula 1 2024 China

Verstappen Starts New Winning Run

April 21, 2024

motorsport journalist

Neal Venter

Motorsport Journalist

It was business as usual for Max Verstappen as F1 returned to China. The reigning World Champion had a bad day on Friday, only managing fourth in the Sprint Qualifying. However, he bounced back with a win in the Sprint race, pole position for the Grand Prix, and sealed off the weekend with another race win.

Lando Norris drove a brilliant race to finish in second place, and Sergio Perez brought his RB20 home in third place. In the Sprint race, Lewis Hamilton finished in second place, with Perez taking third.

Verstappen is now 25 points clear at the top of the standings, giving him some extra breathing room in his pursuit of a fourth consecutive World Championship.

Red Bull in Emergency Mode?

They might be dominating the opposition on track, but according to recent reports, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies behind the scenes at Red Bull.

Max Verstappen has publicly expressed his disappointment in the recent events at Red Bull, especially after rumours emerged of Helmut Marko potentially making a move away from the team. There have also been rumours of Adrian Newey being lured away from Red Bull next year.

Newey was recently spotted in Italy, which stoked the fire underneath the rumours of the genius aerodynamicist potentially moving to Ferrari. With Lewis Hamilton confirmed at the Italian outfit, they have made their World Championship intentions clear for the 2025 season - all the more reason to sign Newey to their team.

Will Buxton reports that there is a lot of movement behind the scenes in the Formula 1 paddock - more than he’s ever seen before. He states that if Verstappen were to “press the nuclear button” there would be a massive shift in the entire paddock with drivers and crew swapping teams all over the place.

Do you think we could see Verstappen moving to a different team? Will Ferrari steal Newey for 2025 and beyond?

Development Race Kicks Into Gear

With five races done and dusted, the development race will now get underway. Teams would have been hard at work in their headquarters developing their current cars. We should expect to see some small upgrades from a couple of the top teams at the next race in Miami.

However, once we hit the European leg of the calendar, there will be massive upgrades at every race. But who has the upper hand in car development this year?

Well, it’s certainly not Red Bull! In a recent interview, Adrian Newey stated that the team has been struggling to make any real progress on the current version of the RB20. The upgrades that they are developing are not having the positive impact that they would have hoped.

Red Bull took a massive change in direction with the RB20, which has led to two major flaws in the car’s design (that we’ve been able to spot so far):

  1. The car is not great in wet weather. The RB20 struggled to perform in the wet at the Chinese Grand Prix so it seems as though this might be a key weakness for other teams to exploit.
  2. The car is difficult to develop - at least according to Newey. This means that other teams have a chance to catch up and potentially overtake Red Bull in terms of on-track performance later this year.

We already know that McLaren and Mercedes are strong in car development. We saw both teams improve their cars across the 2022 and 2023 seasons, and they’re sure to be on the right track again this season.

Ferrari is always a dark horse in the title race. The Scuderia may have some tricks up their sleeve, especially when it comes to the European races.

Miami up Next

Next up, we’re heading to Miami! The circuit is extremely challenging and we’ve seen many drivers make some crucial mistakes.

Red Bull are expected to be fastest again in Miami, but there might be some tough competition waiting for them. It’s also another Sprint race weekend! Who’s taking the win in Miami?

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