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Formula 1 Australian GP

Verstappen’s Melbourne F1 brake failure more than just finger trouble

Red Bull has suggested the brake problem that put Max Verstappen out of Formula 1’s Australian Grand Prix was down to more than just finger trouble.

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

Verstappen retired in the opening stages of the last race in Melbourne after his brakes overheated – with it appearing that the pad had jammed on to the disc because of an issue related to the caliper.

While there has been no detailed explanation from Red Bull about what exactly happened to trigger the failure, various theories have emerged.

One idea is that the culprit was the failure of the team to tighten a screw that was critical to the brake caliper operating correctly.

Verstappen added credence to that idea at Suzuka on Thursday when he suggested that it was more a procedural problem than a design fault.

“It wasn't really a problem in the end, but you have to secure it properly, of course,” he said. “The procedures will be changed a bit to make sure it doesn't happen again.”

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan has explained, however, that the situation was more complicated.

He said that it involved a chain of events that had potentially kicked off as early as when extra work was required following Verstappen’s off in FP1.

“As I've seen many times when cars retire from the race, a sequence of events has occurred in an appropriate order that has triggered it,” he said.

“You can almost trace it back into what began on Friday. Saturday, there were unclear hints maybe there was something amiss, but there was nothing that stood out to say this is going to let you down. So, it was many things.

“If you can stop the sequence, you will stop the problem. So, there are little changes in place to try and interrupt that sequence for that specific event. And it's applicable to all of the car, in that if there's a sequence of events that leads to a race retirement, you try to interrupt it before you get them.

“So, I'm not going to say to you it's a process or anything else. Everybody will do their best to ensure we break that sequence.”

Monaghan explained that some short-term fixes were in place for the Japanese GP, while other aspects would follow down the road.

“There are some subtle changes in there,” he said. “It's actually quite a long-term process to try and deal with the hot air ducts.

“Clearly we're not seeking a repeat, so yes what fixes can be applied since Australia are on and there are more longer-term ones coming as and when we can revise the parts.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

But despite work continuing on the matter, Monaghan expressed some confidence that there would be no repeat issue.

Asked if such a problem could happen again, he said: “I doubt it, no.”

Additional reporting by Ronald Vording

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