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Marko admits Red Bull's upgrades failed in Barcelona

Marko admits Red Bull's upgrades failed in Barcelona
© Reuters
Helmut Marko has acknowledged that Red Bull's recent updates failed to deliver during last weekend's Barcelona race weekend.

Helmut Marko has acknowledged that Red Bull's recent updates failed to deliver during last weekend's Barcelona race weekend.

Lando Norris, narrowly missing the top spot by just a few seconds behind Max Verstappen on Sunday, expressed frustration that a poor start cost him a potential victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.

It appears that the era of Red Bull's control over the 2022-2023 seasons has ended.

"Verstappen is still happy here because he won," noted Formula 1 veteran Fernando Alonso. "Norris has improved a lot, but he did not win the race. Mercedes have also taken a step forward, but they are light years away from Red Bull or from fighting for the championship. And Ferrari are a super team but they are not even on the podium," summarized the Aston Martin driver.

Ralf Schumacher, a former F1 driver, told Sky Deutschland: "If the trend continues, Lando Norris can compete for the world championship."

Triple world champion Verstappen is increasingly vocal about Red Bull's declining dominance.

"We never had the speed that McLaren had," Verstappen told Viaplay on Sunday, "and we were not good enough on the tyres. So we won, but again we didn't have the fastest car."

"I'm happy to win of course, but we can't keep this up the whole season. I've been worried about this for a while. We have to get it under control again."

While Red Bull's opponents introduced more significant upgrades in Barcelona, the championship front-runner did include a new beam wing and rear wing endplates in Spain.

"The update didn't work from the start," concedes team advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.

"We bring things that are much better in theory, but we don't implement it on the track."

Mercedes' James Allison recently remarked that Red Bull's 2024 upgrades seem more like "downgrades."

"That's bullsh*t of course," Verstappen countered on Sunday. "The upgrades certainly improve the car, but everyone around us is simply making bigger steps than we are. I had hoped that we would be ahead on tracks like this," he continued, "but we've seen for a few races now that it's getting more difficult."

Teammate Sergio Perez, who faced difficulties once again in Barcelona despite securing a new contract recently, believes there are deeper problems than just the need for further upgrades.

"The important thing now is to improve the balance," said the Mexican. "It's something we're working on very hard with the engineers with aggressive changes during the weekend, which I don't think are working."

"We really need to understand this problem and that's more important than anything else, at least for me."

The sister team RB's significant upgrade package in Barcelona also proved to be unsuccessful, despite a disappointed boss Laurent Mekies admitting: "We worked so hard for this upgrade, but it was really a very weak weekend."

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Max Verstappen during time at Spanish Grand Prix on June 22, 2024.
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