Marko Warns of China GP Challenge for Red Bull

Dr. Helmut Marko, an advisor for Red Bull, is drawing on the lessons learned from their unexpected setbacks at the Australian Grand Prix to better prepare for potential challenges at the upcoming race in China.

Expressing his concerns, Marko emphasized the possibility of tire wear posing a significant issue for the reigning champions at the Chinese Grand Prix.

With Formula 1 returning to Shanghai after a hiatus since 2019, teams will navigate the circuit with the current generation of cars for the first time, adding an element of novelty to the Sprint weekend format.

Shanghai’s demanding track characteristics, marked by high tire degradation, extensive traction zones, and lengthy corners, present a unique challenge for teams. Red Bull encountered unexpected tire wear issues during the previous race in Australia, which impacted their performance.

Max Verstappen’s retirement and Sergio Perez’s struggle to fifth place highlighted the team’s difficulties, attributed by Marko to concerns over tire management.

Reflecting on the past race, Marko voiced his hopes to avoid similar surprises at the Shanghai International Circuit, stressing the importance of meticulous preparation to mitigate unforeseen challenges.

“I hope we won’t have any surprises like in Melbourne,” remarked the Austrian in a conversation with Sky Sport, underscoring the team’s focus on optimizing their strategy for the upcoming event.

“There the asphalt was so aggressive and we were completely wrong about tire wear, which is precisely one of our strengths.”

With the first Sprint weekend of the season looming, teams face a tight schedule to adapt their current generation cars to a circuit with a potentially abrasive new track surface.

In anticipation of a grand prix fraught with uncertainties and only a single hour of practice, Marko is drawing insights from the Australian Grand Prix to better prepare for the challenges in China.

Although the team acknowledged Perez facing his obstacles, Marko emphasized the Mexican driver’s struggle with grip during the race.

“You could see that with Checo [Perez], how much tyre wear there was,” remarked the 80-year-old, shedding light on the extent of the challenge faced by the team.

“So it could still be a surprise that way [in China], but we have been warned by what happened at Melbourne and I think now we know better how to react. But it’s a completely new situation for most of us.”