The Streak is Over: What Went Wrong for Red Bull in Singapore
In what can only be described as an astonishing twist at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, Red Bul’s incredible 15-race winning streak was brought to a screeching halt. Donning the famous colours of Ferrari, Carlos Sainz claimed victory while Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, the star drivers for Red Bull, struggled to recover from a double Q2 exit during qualifying. But what went wrong?
As Formula 1 fans continue to dissect the unexpected turn of events at the Singapore Grand Prix, SportyTrader will continue to cover the entire 2023 F1 season live on their free-to-use platform. In partnership with 22Bet, SportyTrader goes beyond betting, providing live race updates, breaking news, and exclusive promotions for everything F1. New users can find a valid promo code for 22Bet to use in 2023, exclusive to SportyTrader, and tune in to all the live action for the remaining races of the season, leading up to the finale in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina on November 26.
The Challenges Unfolding
Few can argue that Red Bull's dominance in F1 during the 2023 season has been nothing short of spectacular. Up to last week, the RB19 had seemed uncatchable, but the Singapore Grand Prix has potentially exposed the vulnerabilities in the Red Bull racing machine. Verstappen, starting from the 11th position on the grid, could only manage a fifth-place finish, while Perez fought his way up to eighth from P13. It was evident that something had gone awry for the powerhouse team.
Red Bulls' woes began to surface as early as Friday's practice sessions, where they clearly struggled to match the pace of their competitors, which is something that was unheard of through the last 15 races. Team principal Christian Horner admitted that their pre-race simulations had led them astray, putting the team in the wrong setup "window." Another pivotal moment of the race came with the deployment of the Safety Car on lap 20 after an incident involving Logan Sargeant's Williams that disrupted Red Bull's strategy, which relied on Verstappen and Perez starting on hard tires to gain positions when their competitors pitted. However, the Safety Car allowed the leading cars to make "free" pit stops, and Red Bull's drivers fell behind as a result.
Amid Red Bull's struggles in Singapore, there was speculation regarding the impact of two new technical directives (TDs) introduced by the FIA. TD18 tightened rules concerning flexible wings, while an updated version of TD39 targeted the flexibility of the floor around the skid block holes. These directives aimed to prevent teams from exploiting loopholes in aerodynamic regulations. However, Red Bull firmly denied that the TDs were to blame for their performance decline and that the team had made "zero" changes to its car as a result of the new FIA stance, emphasizing that engineering complexities and setups were the primary factors.
Optimism for the Future
One of the main strengths of the RB19 is its ability to maintain a predictable aero platform at various speeds, which makes it consistent through different types of corners. The car's effective ride control allows it to run close to the ground at high speed, where maximum downforce is generated. However, this design choice makes the car less adaptable on bumpier tracks, since it is prone to bottoming out, which was evident in Singapore.
While Red Bull reflect on the weekend's performance, chief engineer Paul Monaghan summed up the situation perfectly by admitting that Singapore had exposed some weaknesses in the car that were already known within the team. Yet, despite the end of their winning streak, Red Bull still sees the experience as a valuable lesson for the development of their 2024 car, the RB20. Verstappen followed suit by echoing the sentiments and expressed confidence that the team would be back to normal in Suzuka for the Japan Grand Prix this weekend and that both drivers are determined to return to the front of the grid, where we have become accustomed to seeing them. The champion-elect added that he believes that the Singapore race was an anomaly because of its unique characteristics and that with Japan having a completely different layout, we should see the RB19 back to business as usual.
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