Adrian Newey says it just a “coincidence” that Red Bull have hit their stride since his return from injury at the Turkish Grand Prix.
The Red Bull design guru was injured in a cycling accident in Croatia over the summer and needed multiple surgeries, missing several grands prix as he recovered.
He returned to work in October and, according to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, “immediately recognised the difficulties” the team had been suffering in his absence.
Since his return, Max Verstappen has jumped from a two-point deficit in the title race to a 19-point advantage.
“It’s coincidence,” Newey told the F1 Nation Podcast. “I enjoy being here.
“I’m enjoying being back. [I] missed it. Hopefully, I bring something, but it’s a great team. So I just try and fill in the cracks if I see them.”
*Championship leader enters the group chat* 🎩pic.twitter.com/7L0pZyOzPN
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) November 9, 2021
Although Verstappen claimed the win at the United States Grand Prix and followed that up with a P1 in Mexico, Sergio Perez P3 in both races, neither were problem-free weekends for Red Bull.
Over the course of both grand prix weekends the team discovered issues with their rear wing.
Red Bull made some changes to the rear wing of both cars in Austin, strengthening them to deal with the bumps that caused a few troubles for most of the teams, while in Mexico cracks in FP3 once again led to the team reinforcing the wings.
Newey says it was two separate problems.
“We had a problem in Texas, which was completely unrelated to the problem we had here [Mexico],” he said.
“It was the same wing we would normally run in Monaco and Hungary, but because of the low air density, everybody runs maximum downforce here.
“The fact that you get to terminal velocity means it’s actually carrying more load than it would do in Hungary, and that seemed to be what was catching us out.
“Trying to understand that and [make] hasty modifications between FP3 and qualifying, happily, seemed to do the trick.”
The technical chief says sorting out problems at the track is part of the job, as no Formula 1 car is “100 percent reliable”.
“There’s so many little bits at the track, the decisions on the details of the set-up, how we use the tyres,” he said.
“In Austin, we had some reliability concerns over the front wing grounding, here [in Mexico City] we had a drama with the rear wing going into qualifying post-FP3.
“Race cars aren’t 100 percent reliable, they keep throwing things at you.”
Max Verstappen can taste the championship
The Dutchman had the race wrapped up from the first corner, and Lewis Hamilton could do nothing about it.