Max Verstappen has warned against complacency creeping in at Red Bull, as he emphasised the need to relentlessly introduce improvements to the RB18.
The Dutchman feels his team have not been dominant all season and says the they must maintain intensity to ensure victory.
He told gpfans: “We still need to bring upgrades to the car, and they need to work all the time.
“When people say ‘Red Bull has been really good in the past at bringing upgrades and developments’, we have to show it again because every year, if you start thinking like that, normally you will fall behind because you think you are that good.”
Verstappen highlights that Red Bull – despite their championship lead – must continue to reduce the performance gap to Ferrari, whose F1-75 is consistently capable of challenging for wins,
“I think so far, there has never been a dominant weekend for us. In general, at the start of the year, we were the ones chasing and trying to beat Ferrari.”
Reliability has been a crucial part of Red Bull’s recovery after a difficult first three rounds, so the reigning World Champion hopes his team can continue to find incremental gains:
“They had a few retirements, and we took advantage of that or through strategy calls. So I think overall from my feeling, it is still a bit of chasing and also what I said with the weight of the car, we are still overweight which is costing us lap-time.”
Red Bull’s success over Ferrari this year is the result of various factors, taking advantage of the operational issues and poor strategy that have prevented Ferrari from reaching its full potential.
However, Red Bull cannot depend on Ferrari’s incompetencies forever. We’ve already seen how quickly the momentum in the Championship can swing, so this year is far from over, and Verstappen knows it.
Mercedes could also become a more legitimate threat next season, and given the continuity between this and next year’s car, the upgrades brought forward now will have an impact for 2023.