After Red Bull suffered an underwhelming Friday at the Singapore Grand Prix, Sky F1 commentator David Croft suggests “fear” may be brewing in the team as they fight to remain unbeaten.
Ahead of the race weekend, runaway Championship leader Max Verstappen had predicted that Singapore may not prove to be their strongest battleground in F1 2023, and judging by Friday practice, he was not wrong.
While FP1 was relatively positive, Verstappen just over a tenth down on session-topper Charles Leclerc as Ferrari scored a one-two, Verstappen was seven-tenths adrift of the Scuderia by the end of FP2, Carlos Sainz this time in P1 as Ferrari registered another one-two.
David Croft senses “fear” building at Red Bull
During FP2, Sergio Perez had made the alarming claim that he feared crashing the Red Bull RB19 in every braking zone, such was the rear-end instability, while Verstappen post-session declared that Red Bull were “much worse than expected” on the opening day of action.
And rather than these issues being expected, considering the team had played down their pace for Singapore, Croft ponders whether the negative tone after Friday is actually “fear” regarding the health of their undefeated streak.
Red Bull are looking to do what no Formula 1 team has done before and win every grand prix in a season, having taken all 14 F1 2023 wins so far, while they are on a streak of 15 unbeaten overall.
“Antonio Giovinazzi has led more laps around Singapore than Max Verstappen has,” said Croft. “I think he’s led three, Giovinazzi lead four.
“I think it’s not just ages ago they identified this as a bit of a weakness, but you know what it’s like, the more you get on a run of success, the more fear creeps in that that run is going to stop eventually. And there might be a bit of that at Red Bull at the moment.
“I mean, look, they could not finish the next five races and still take the championships, I don’t think that’ll be a problem, but there is that fear that ‘we’ve done so well, but a couple of times, maybe we’ve got away with it a little bit?’
“Monza, there were temperature issues for Max Verstappen. First race of the season there were temperature issues that the team had to manage, and there are 80,000 things that could go wrong on each individual part on a Formula 1 car, so nothing is ever taken for granted.”
Red Bull could actually secure the 2023 Constructors’ Championship in Singapore, should they take maximum points and Mercedes fail to score.