Red Bull Fear Gap Being Closed By Major Rivals

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 during the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 05, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405053091 // Usage for editorial use only //
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 during the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 05, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405053091 // Usage for editorial use only //

Ferrari is setting up a major assault on Red Bull’s dominance of Formula 1, with even Dr Helmut Marko admitting that the rivals are closing the gap.

In fact, Red Bull’s top F1 consultant confesses that McLaren driver Lando Norris beat triple world champion Max Verstappen last time out in Miami based on pure pace alone.

“We were just too slow,” Marko told Osterreich newspaper, hitting out at his colleague Christian Horner’s claim that Verstappen damaged his floor by hitting a bollard.

“Max didn’t think it was that serious,” the 81-year-old insists. “The fact is that we were just slower than McLaren.”

Red Bull will attempt to hit back this weekend at Imola with a car upgrade “that I expect a lot from,” Marko added.

“Even before Max hit the bollard, we were only just ahead of the Ferrari in terms of speed,” Marko also wrote in an exclusive column posted at Speed Week. “We didn’t have the fastest car.”

Ferrari, still second overall in the championship ahead of McLaren, is also bringing a major car upgrade to Imola – featuring a sidepod treatment reminiscent of Red Bull’s development direction, according to Italian media.

The Maranello team is also busily planning for the future, finally announcing two major appointments from Mercedes – Toto Wolff’s former deputy Jerome d’Ambrosio, and performance engineer Loic Serra.

They will both start work on 1 October, ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s similar and highly anticipated move from silver to red for 2025 and beyond.

D’Ambrosio, a former F1 driver, will be team boss Frederic Vasseur’s deputy team boss.

And the latest swirling Italian media rumour is that Adrian Newey will eventually re-emerge in the Formula 1 world as a new external “super advisor” to Ferrari, before getting even more involved with the design of the 2026 car.

Sky Italia claims: “The official announcement is missing, but for Adrian Newey, all roads lead to Maranello”.

“He will have the role of super advisor, starting in April 2025, with the possibility of working on the 2026 car project,” the report added.

“He will possibly also get involved at the races, given that he will arrive shortly after the season has started.”

In a new interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Vasseur was not ready to confirm the news.

“Newey is a reference,” he is quoted as saying, “but I believe more in the group.”

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