Red Bull brings substantial upgrades to F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez with an improved car? That is a thought that could send chills down the spines of the rest of the paddock.

However, that might be the reality the other nine teams are dealing with this weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Red Bull is one of several teams unveiling some upgrades to their 2024 challenger ahead of this weekend’s race. After McLaren brought some upgrades to Miami two weeks ago for the Miami Grand Prix — and Lando Norris secured his maiden F1 victory — other teams have their own new packages in Imola this week.

We can start with Red Bull, as the team shared their list of upgrades with the FIA Friday, which include upgrades to the front wing, the floor edge, the rear corner, the floor body, and the nose. According to the team’s “Car Presentation Submission” to the FIA, the upgraded front wing works as follows: “More load has been extracted from the flap by extending the chord length. In changing the moving flap geometry, the fixed flap elements into the nosebox had to be revised as the parts cannot be treated in a modular fashion. The endplate leading edge revision improves the stability in yaw.”

The team also altered the floor edge, which you can see here in this photograph shared by F1 technical analyst Albert Fabrega:

Here is Red Bull’s complete list of submissions, as presented to the FIA:

Screenshot 2024 05 17 at 9.17.01 AM

While many might believe the upgrades to the RB20 were in response to McLaren’s strong performance and pace in Miami, Max Verstappen made it clear these were planned well in advance of the Miami Grand Prix. Speaking with the media on Thursday, Verstappen made it clear that in his mind Red Bull is still up front, but the grid is closing on them.

“I mean, it’s not responding,” said Verstappen on Thursday. “These things are already planned out for a long time. It’s not like one team comes with upgrades and we’re like, ‘oh, we need to put something together’. It’s literally already in the pipeline. We are happy with it, but of course, naturally you have to keep on pushing, because the teams behind us, they are definitely catching up.

“As you could see in Miami, when we don’t get things 100 percent right, they’re ahead, and we have to try and make sure that we don’t have too many of those weekends.”

Speaking ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Red Bull Senior Advisor Dr. Helmut Marko made it apparent that the team is expecting substantial improvement from these upgrades.

“No, I’m not worried, Norris is over 50 points behind,” said Marko. “We are also bringing an upgrade to Imola that I expect a lot from. But Miami shows that we have to concentrate on sports.”

However, it might take some time for Verstappen to get acclimated to the upgrades, if Friday’s first practice session is any indication. The Red Bull driver spent some time in the grass, veering off the racing line on multiple occasions:

When the dust settled on FP1, Verstappen was only fifth on the timing sheets, despite putting in some runs on the soft compound. Charles Leclerc was fastest in the first session, followed by George Russell and Carlos Sainz Jr.:

However, with this weekend being a traditional grand prix, Verstappen has two more practice sessions to sort things out before qualifying on Saturday.

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