Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Red Bull haven’t sacrificed 2022 to win the title this year – Verstappen

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen does not believe Red Bull have sacrificed development on next year’s car to increase their chances of winning the world championship this year.

A major overhaul of the technical regulations will come into force next year. Speaking after today’s race, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he believes Red Bull have put more effort into developing this year’s car, while his team are focussing on 2022.

Verstappen scored an emphatic win at the team’s home circuit and increased his points lead over Lewis Hamilton. He said his team are bringing regular upgrades to their RB16B, but doubts they are at risk of compromising their 2022 campaign.

“I don’t know what’s going on with other teams but I know that of course from our side we improve our car almost every race which I think is very important because we have a good opportunity to have a good season,” said Verstappen.

“I’m confident with the people we have in the team that obviously the focus for next year is 100 percent. So far I don’t see that compromise but of course time will tell, next year, if it’s like that. But I’m fully agreeing with the approach we have for this season.”

Hamilton finished a distant second in today’s race and now trails Verstappen by 18 points. He does not expect many upgrades on his car in the near future, and said the new financial regulations introduced this season have presented an added obstacle to developing their car.

“I’ve got an incredibly intelligent, strong and amazing group of people working behind me who take all those decisions,” he said. “Obviously you have to balance it out with this new cost cap. Naturally I would love to have upgrades and improvements but I don’t think that’s currently on the cards.

“So of course when we do a debrief we’ll chat about it but that’s how it is at the moment.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Red Bull haven’t sacrificed 2022 to win the title this year – Verstappen”

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    27th June 2021, 17:14

    It’s (for once) a fair point raised by Wolff, but could also be a lot of smoke. I doubt Mercedes would want to throw a year away (because it’s Mercedes) but a head-start to the new regulations would obviously be worthwhile.

    At the same time Red Bull knows this as well, but are also actually a contender this year. So unless either one can have a look in the factory of the other, neither knows exactly how much % either puts in this years and next years car. Which is why it’s so exciting! For all we know, next season McLaren or Ferrari edges Red Bull and maybe even Mercedes.

    1. @barryfromdownunder Of course it’s smoke. It’s been a steady stream of jabs, lies, allegations and excuses started by Hamilton, picked up by Wolff, and this is just another one. Obviously Wolff has absolutely no way of knowing what Red Bull is doing with their 22 car compared to this, but the hope is that it will upset Red Bull and be a nice excuse if Mercedes fail to win this year. It’s almost as stupid as the ‘engine cheat to gain straight line speed’ allegation even when all could see the difference in the wing sizes. Smacks of desperation.

  2. @barryfromdownunder

    Question is… how much of an importance is getting a headstart for next year? Will it take long to catch up if you start behind? Red Bull did this in 2013, and started 2014 1.5-2.0 seconds off on race pace off Mercedes. However, we do know that Mercedes were working really early to the 2014 car. Wolff did say that they believe they can find 0.3 of a second in just understanding their car for this season in terms of the tyres and the manner of setup. Another however, Wolff is the master of mind games, so I don’t know what to think. But I come to these in terms of the reasons we have Red Bull ahead of Mercedes:

    1. Mercedes are not using the power unit to its maximum potential, unlike Red Bull.
    2. Red Bull is clearly faster on equal settings of the power unit.
    3. Mercedes are focusing on 2022 entirely, and Red Bull are focusing this season.
    4. Both teams are managing their developments for this and next season.

    At this point, I don’t know who to believe, and I am just enjoying the feeling of excitement once again since 2014 and 2016.

    1. The 2014 reg changes included the complete power unit changes, which is where Merc developed much of their advantage. With 2022, the power units are staying largely the same, so, as long as RBR do have a decent focus on 2022, they should also be able to look after this seasons car where needed too.

    2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      27th June 2021, 18:30

      I agree with you and @MaddMe above me: it’s what makes it exciting isn’t it?

      I’m also watching back the post-race presco and hearing Hamilton talk about ‘another TD coming regarding the rear wing’, so that could also be interesting for this year. Then again, could also once more be smoke being blown.

      @dieterrencken I’m sure you’ve picked it up already since it’s quite late that they’ve uploaded it, but it’s at the 12 minute mark I think. Don’t know if you’ve heard anything in the paddock regarding another TD for the rear wing coming or Lewis is merely mistaking the pitstop one coming from Hungary onwards. Can’t blame him really, there’s been a bunch of them in rapid succession…

      1. Absolutely…

  3. I guess it’s worth giving this year a shot, even if that means sacrificing 2022, you don’t often get the chance to win a title vs merc.

  4. I’m sure Red Bull are also working hard on the RB17, but if they are able to keep on improving the RB16B why not do it? They have a golden opportunity to dethrone the most dominant team in F1 history, so why not take it? Why compromise your chance of winning in 2021 where you are clearly the pace setter (or at very worst joint pace setter), there are no guarantees as to what will happen next season. For all we know Mercedes could come out with another W05-esque car and thump everyone again.

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