Marko Highlights Red Bull’s Advantage After Bahrain Testing

Amidst a standout performance at Bahrain’s pre-season testing on Wednesday, where the RB20 was over a second faster than its closest competitors, Helmut Marko has a more conservative view of the car’s edge, estimating it at approximately “three-tenths”.

During the initial day of testing at the Sakhir circuit, Max Verstappen showcased the capabilities of the revamped RB20, dominating the field.

By midday, he had already established a significant lead of seven-tenths over Charles Leclerc, a margin that expanded to 1.1 seconds over Lando Norris by the end of the evening session.

However, the significance of these results is debatable due to the varying conditions of the test—differing strategies, fuel loads, and tire selections among the drivers. Despite this, Red Bull’s competitors appear to be facing another challenging season, as they aim to narrow the performance gap.

Marko, in a gesture of reassurance to the competition, suggested that factors such as tire choice and the timing of Verstappen’s laps were influential in achieving such impressive timing.

“The lead is not as big as it looks,” Marko said.

“We were the only ones who took to the track with fresh medium tyres in the cool evening hours. That explains the big jump we made in the afternoon.”

He added: “We estimate the actual lead to be three-tenths.”

A recent report from AMuS highlights that Adrian Newey‘s newest design is outperforming its competitors on the straights, boasting a speed advantage of “4 km/h”.

Helmut Marko expressed satisfaction with the early observations of the car’s performance.

The Austrian stated, “Very, very, very impressive, we ran 142 laps, without any problems, more or less. And the concept is working. So that was the first main thing. The car is reacting, and we are developing. Yeah, it looks good.”

Commenting on the team’s innovative approach, which borrows elements from designs previously utilized and then discarded by Mercedes last season, the Red Bull advisor expressed even greater satisfaction with the RB20’s dependability.

“I mean, it’s always a risk,” he stated. “And if you look at Mercedes, they had some problems, and our car was working from the very first lap. So we are very proud and glad.

“Also, the reliability is unbelievable. And [from] what I saw tyre-performance-wise, again, Ferrari has more problems than us.

“Also, the McLaren seems to be a little bit more nervous. Mercedes, I don’t know what they did. For sure they are faster than what they have shown. But we can be confident.”

Ultimately, this led to Mercedes’ chief engineer, Andrew Shovlin, stating, “One thing is also clear. Red Bull is ahead.”