Max Verstappen 'recharged' ahead of new F1 season
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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has admitted the team are struggling to adapt to one of F1’s brand new technical regulations. The 2022 campaign will represent an overhaul in the rules of the sport, with restrictions being introduced with the primary goal of making racing more competitive.
The new measures threaten to end the dominance of both Red Bull and Mercedes, or more specifically world champion Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, with the pair sharing 18 wins from the 22 Grands Prix last year.
All F1 teams took to Barcelona last week for three days of pre-season testing in their newly adapted cars, with the Silver Arrows setting the pace, although Ferrari’s performances were also impressive as they completed more laps than any other team in Spain.
One of the drastic new measures concerns the weight limit of vehicles, which has been increased this year to 795kg excluding fuel, an increase of 43kg from last year.
And it’s something that Marko, who also serves as the head of Red Bull’s driver development program, admits has caused a problem with the new RB18 models.
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“The only problem we have is the weight,” Marko told German publication Motorsport-Magazin.com.
“But all teams have that. Thank God the minimum weight has already been raised, but there’s still a lot of work to do before the first race.”
The original limit of 775kg has already been raised to 795kg, but Marko, 78, seemed hopeful of that mark being raised again.
Another meeting was held between teams and FIA officials on Friday, but as of yet there has been no further amendment to the regulation.
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“Let’s see if there’s not another increase coming,” added Marko. “All but one of the teams are struggling with the weight issue.”
However, for any further changes to be passed, a minimum of eight out of the ten F1 teams would have to agree to it.
And Motorsport-Magazin.com claim that Red Bull are believed to be the team suffering the most fom the weight changes – which may lead to other outfits not wanting to agree to another raise.
Teams will get the chance of further testing in Bahrain from March 10-12, before the same country hosts the season opener on Sunday, March 20.
Verstappen therefore, faces an intriguing battle to defend his maiden F1 title, which he won in dramatic fashion following a controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last December.
He will have to fend off seven-time champion Hamilton, who after weeks of speculation, confirmed he would be lining up for Mercedes in the new campaign.
As well as the new regulations, this season will also consist of an unprecedented 23 Grand Prix races.
However, there will be one change to the original schedule, with FIA bosses currently seeking a replacement for the Russian Grand Prix, which has been axed following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
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