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Formula 1 Japanese GP

Verstappen reveals new Red Bull F1 processes to avoid brake fire repeat

Max Verstappen has explained the procedural changes Red Bull has implemented to try and avoid a repeat of the brake problem that forced him out of F1’s 2024 Australian race.

Smoke spills from the rear of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, as he retires from the race

Ahead of today’s Japanese Grand Prix, Verstappen hinted that Red Bull was changing its car repair assessment systems through an F1 event.

This was after its post-Melbourne analysis of the failure that led to the Dutchman’s right-rear brake pad jamming onto the disc and the whole assembly eventually catching fire early in the race, which was won by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan also explained at Suzuka that “a sequence of events” occurred while the team was repairing Verstappen’s floor following an FP1 off in Australia that led to “an appropriate order that has triggered [the brake fire and retirement]”.

The team is also working on a longer-term redesign of the brake system, but as that is not yet in place, Verstappen has outlined how it will unleash “a bit more of a supervising role maybe to double check some things, but also some things that you change on the car”.

“You know, here and there it's a bit of a rush job sometimes when you want to change in between FP1 or FP2 or overnight,” he said in the post-qualifying press conference in Japan, after he had beaten his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez to pole for Sunday’s race.

“Sometimes it can be some big things that you want to change and you run out of time because of a curfew or whatever.

“Yeah, so basically just make sure that you double-check stuff because everyone is always very pressured and you don't put the blame on one single person [the change in procedures has been implemented].

“But it's always nice that there is a guy that maybe just goes after a few things and then some more things are coming. But it's just basically more to just double-check stuff in general.”

Japanese GP poleman Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Japanese GP poleman Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Verstappen also wished his former number one mechanic, Lee Stevenson, well after he left Red Bull following the Melbourne race to take up a new role at the Sauber squad.

“He got a great opportunity at Sauber, and I don't blame him for trying something new,” said the Dutchman.

“We're still good friends. We have shared a lot of great moments together.

“And sometimes in life, you get opportunities and you maybe go a bit out of your comfort zone. You try something new.

“If it doesn't work out, you can always come back, right? So, all good.”

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