Red Bull respond to crash test report as Max Verstappen enters car vs driver debate – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
The Red Bull F1 factory, located in Milton Keynes in the UK.

The Red Bull F1 factory, located in Milton Keynes in the UK.

The first Friday of the year brings with it several interesting items of F1 news, including reports of what’s to come in 2024 and a response from Red Bull over a reported failed crash test.

Mercedes, Max Verstappen and others are all in the headlines on Friday as we get ready to gear up for the year ahead, with a record calendar upon us.

There are still eight weeks to go before the season gets going, but we have an awful lot of F1 news to bring you before then.

Helmut Marko responds to report of crash test failure

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has responded to a report of the team failing a frontal crash test on the RB20, branding concerns about it “ridiculous” at this stage.

There is still a long way to go before the cars need to be homologated for the 2024 season, and Marko’s response appeared to confirm reports that a crash test was failed, but it’s all in pursuit of performance at this stage as the car comes into line with FIA regulations.

He told German publication F1-Insider of the reports: “Ridiculous. If we had passed the first crash test, there would have been a problem. Because then we would have done a bad job.”

Read more: Helmut Marko responds to report of Red Bull RB20 crash test failure

Mercedes face reported local opposition to HQ expansion

Mercedes are looking at expanding their Brackley headquarters as their growth in Formula 1 continues, but they are reportedly facing local opposition from local residents over the plans.

Business owners and residents are said to be “up in arms” over plans to add a large new building for their marketing team, a wellbeing centre and an extension to their main factory.

A team spokesperson said they went through all the appropriate channels with their planning application, with all of their plans aimed at having the “least possible impact” on the local area.

Read more: Mercedes accused of ‘gross disrespect’ as they face HQ expansion headache

Case made for keeping current line-up at Stake for Audi transition

Le Mans winner Richard Bradley gave his reasons for believing the current line-up at Sauber, now known as Stake F1, will have its benefits for when they transition to Audi in 2026.

“I mean, firstly, on Zhou’s side at least, I’m pretty sure that China is Audi’s biggest market,” Bradley told the On Track GP Podcast. “But even if it’s not Audi’s, then definitely Volkswagen Group, there is a lot of marketing potential for them in China.

“And having lived in China for three years, everywhere you go, you see a Volkswagen Group car or predominantly an Audi.

“And then obviously Valtteri, with the experience he has from Mercedes and the fact he’s been pretty solid over all the time he’s been at Alfa, I think he’s the sort of guy you’d very happily have taking a manufacturer like Audi into it.”

Read more: Alternate Audi line-up proposed as major ‘opportunity’ pinpointed

Max Verstappen weighs in on car vs driver debate in F1

Max Verstappen has swept aside a question about how much of his success is down to the dominance of his Red Bull underneath him, and how much is down to him.

The reigning World Champion took his third title with a record haul of 19 wins from 22 available races in 2023, with team-mate Sergio Perez winning two grands prix.

“I’m not interested in the opinions of others. They don’t know our car. I just try to get the best out of it. And I do that every time,” he told German publication Auto Motor und Sport.

“I don’t know how dominant this car is compared to previous cars. Nobody knows that.”

Read more: Max Verstappen sets record straight on ‘only wins because of car’ argument

Inside an unseen, crucial part of F1

Marshals are the real reason that racing can go ahead on a week-by-week basis, keeping drivers and fans safe – and often it’s’s Sam Cooper headed to Motorsport UK to speak to some of the key figures involved in one of the unsung areas of racing, with a thoroughly interesting video to come out of it as a result.

Read more: WATCH: Inside the crucial world of marshalling that keeps Formula 1 safe and running

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