Toto Wolff cautions that competitors of Red Bull should avoid assuming that the team’s prevailing supremacy might be nearing its conclusion.
After an unmatched ten victories in succession, Max Verstappen experienced challenges in Singapore with a notably challenging car.
Lando Norris of McLaren, having secured a spot right after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on Sunday, remarked about Red Bull’s sudden downturn: “When I watched Max’s onboard yesterday, I kind of laughed because I’ve never seen a car that bad before.
“Max was also laughing about it,” the Briton added. “But we’ll see next weekend. I think they’ll probably be back at the top.”
Verstappen, currently waiting until Qatar to possibly secure his remarkable third consecutive drivers’ title, seemed more upbeat post his fifth-place finish in Singapore. He started the race beyond the top ten, and hinted at a potentially better outcome without the interruptions in Singapore.
“After that it went quite well on the medium tyre,” said the Dutchman. “Still, it wasn’t our normal standard,” he admitted to Viaplay.
“We need to understand why the car failed to perform well, especially in qualifying. But next week we are in Suzuka that should normally suit our car much better.
“I knew this day would come anyway so I’m totally fine. Everyone always says ‘Look how easy everything is for them’, but you see it’s not easy.
“And when you find yourself in the catch-up role, you don’t win,” Verstappen added.
Christian Horner, the head of Red Bull, shared his views, suggesting that without the ill-timed safety car, “Max would have been fighting with the Ferraris, Lando and the Mercedes”.
“We learned a few lessons in the race and have a good idea of what was going on for us here,” he expanded. “Max and Checo (Perez) did a lot of overtaking on a track where it’s not easy to overtake.”
Horner believes that Red Bull encountered some missteps in their preparations for Singapore.
“The simulations before the weekend led to incorrect conclusions,” he highlighted. “The engineers then got lost trying to correct course.
“The car fell completely out of the window. So we’ve revealed some weaknesses. We understand the problems. If we were to come here again, everything would look completely different.”
Dr Helmut Marko expressed minimal concern.
“We had the fastest car in the field in the last stint,” the Austrian informed Servus TV.
However, some speculate that Red Bull’s control over Formula 1 might be waning in the latter part of the season.
“If you think about it, I think they haven’t really been developing,” Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who finished third in Singapore, shared.
“McLaren brought an upgrade here. Others are bringing upgrades, but they (Red Bull) are working on next year’s car. They have less wind tunnel time so they’re probably using some of this year’s time on next year’s car.
“They are so clearly ahead that maybe they’re developing their car less and we are still pushing to develop our current one. But time will tell,” Hamilton added.
Carlos Sainz of Ferrari speculates that Singapore might have been a unique setback for Red Bull.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still winning the last races of the season,” he shared.
Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff, on the other hand, remains confident about Red Bull’s swift comeback.
“We shouldn’t go from ‘they’re so good’ to ‘they’re not so good’ so wildly,” he shared with Sky Deutschland.
“They’ve had such a dominant season. The car is by far the best and the driver has proven everything. Singapore has always been a strange track.
“They will come back again,” Wolff concluded.