"It doesn't make sense to hype it up," insists Verstappen


Although he admits the RB16B "looks promising", Max Verstappen refuses to get drawn into hyping-up his and Red Bull's chances this season.

Though Red Bull has taken full advantage of the filming day rule to run all three of its drivers, the Austrian team is playing it very, very low key in terms of giving anything away.

While Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both got to drive the team's 2021 contender, the RB16B, yesterday, no pictures of the new cars have been released by the team.

Indeed, other than the two renders released on Tuesday the car hasn't been seen, leading to understandable speculation that the team is holding something back, either in terms of aero or some other technical device - dual axis steering, f-duct anyone? - that it isn't ready to reveal just yet.

Following his first miles in the car, Verstappen is similarly giving little away.

"The thing is we drive on demo tyres," said the Dutchman, "so it will never feel how it's going to feel on real tyres.

"I never really base a lot of my findings on this," he added. "It's more just wanting to get the car out, run a few laps, and it all felt normal to me.

"We need to wait and see what's happening in Bahrain once we have proper tyres under the car," he continued, "I just wanted to get the car out and run, do our 100 km, then everyone has their data, and I got back into a Formula 1 car.

"Then we move to Bahrain where the real work of course to try and find the optimum set-up on the car is happening with proper tyres, because these demo tyres, you can't really read anything."

Asked what he is looking for from the RB16b in order to take the fight to Mercedes, the response was immediate: More grip, more power," he said.

"People always talked about the rear-end being so twitchy, I think it's just general grip we were lacking a bit," he continued. "Also, we were a bit down on power. We know that, there's no secret behind it, you can see it.

"So we worked a lot with Honda throughout the winter. It's all looking promising but it doesn't make sense now to hype it all up. I want to stay low-key and focus on our job. We should do the talking on the track, not next to the track.

"I am always very realistic and it makes no sense to talk about stuff now. We have to go to Bahrain and look at it there, at the first race, and see if we succeeded or not. We know where we want to be and where we want to get to and that's what we now need to try and realise."

The Dutchman is also hopeful that whereas Mercedes stopped developing its 2020 car early last season, Red Bull continued to develop its own car, a move which could pay off this time around.

"I think at the end of the season Mercedes stopped developing that car from whenever, June or July, because you couldn't really see a lot of updates. We just kept learning and we know we had a few issues with that car and we wanted to improve it.

"Also knowing the regulations wouldn't change that much - obviously the floor changed a bit but in general the car stayed very much the same," he added. "For us it was important to get on top of that and let's see this year if we improved it even more and we are even better and hopefully we can be more competitive compared to Mercedes."

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Published: 25/02/2021
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