Max Verstappen F1 downforce gamble not enough on straights in France

Red Bull claims it was still losing seven tenths of a second on Paul Ricard's straights despite gambling on running Spa levels of downforce in qualifying for the French Grand Prix

Max Verstappen F1 downforce gamble not enough on straights in France

Given that its Renault power unit is lacking compared to Mercedes and Ferrari, Renault elected to trim out Max Verstappen's wing in a bid to not lose out too much.

But although Verstappen managed to qualify on the second row - just three tenths adrift of Sebastian Vettel - Horner said that the team was still losing out on top speed.

"We are pretty much at Spa levels of downforce and unfortunately we are still seven tenths down on the straight," Horner told Sky Sports of Verstappen's set-up.

"But both drivers have done a great job there. Fourth and fifth we can still race well from there.

"I think Mercedes have gone at this race - this tyre is really suiting their car on this surface, so as long as they don't screw it up tomorrow they are in pretty decent shape.

"But we have really got a race with Ferrari."

Ricciardo fears

Daniel Ricciardo didn't get a chance to try Verstappen's wing levels due to the rain that fell in FP3, so he stuck with a higher downforce setting which he expects will make him "pretty slow" compared to the leaders in the race.

"We split the cars yesterday on downforce levels so Max went low and I was higher," he said.

"Obviously we were pretty evenly matched yesterday and it looked like the low was worth trying so I put it on for FP3 to try it out but didn't get to try it because of the weather.

"So would we jump into qualifying with something that we haven't run yet?

"We [decided] 'let's do what we ran all day yesterday and we know'.

"It was a little bit slow on the straights. A frustrating session, not really much more to do in qualifying.

"Of course come 4.10pm [for the race] I will be confident, but on paper we are going to be pretty slow on the straight compared to the guys in front, but if it rains we might be the lucky dogs."

Ricciardo believes without the rain that affected FP3, he would have ended up running the lower downforce too.

"Max's FP1 was not very good and they had a few issues, and he had more downforce in FP1 and they said 'OK let's take it all off'," he said.

"I think after yesterday afternoon they said 'this is the only good session we have had let's keep it because it is what we know'.

"It was a bit the same with us, after FP3 once we didn't get the running we just went with what we know.

"I decided that with my engineer and I guess Max decided that with his. If we did FP3 we would probably have gone for the lower."

shares
comments
F1 champions Vettel, Hamilton hail France qualifying star Leclerc
Previous article

F1 champions Vettel, Hamilton hail France qualifying star Leclerc

Next article

Kevin Magnussen lashes out at 'desperate' Kimi Raikkonen at French GP

Kevin Magnussen lashes out at 'desperate' Kimi Raikkonen at French GP
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Plus

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022