Helmut Marko reveals engine mode information with ‘usual’ practice ‘game’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen in the Red Bull garage

Max Verstappen was not happy with his RB20 in Monaco

Although Max Verstappen is worried Red Bull are in a hole even set-up changes can’t get them out of, Helmut Marko insists they aren’t “losing that much time”, at least not in the long runs in Monaco.

Verstappen had a difficult time on the opening day of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend where he finished P4, but was over half a second down on the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

Helmut Marko: We are not losing that much time at all

Complaining during FP2 that his RB20 was “jumping like a kangaroo” and “giving me a headache”, he later said he didn’t “expect any miracles” come Saturday’s running.

“These kind of things you cannot solve with set-up because that’s how the car is made and designed and these kinds of things you cannot change overnight, so we are stuck with that,” said the reigning World Champion.

But while Verstappen seems somewhat resigned to his fate, Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko doesn’t believe they were that far off the pace, at least not when it came to the long runs.

He, however, accepts this is Monaco and race-pace doesn’t count for much if a driver isn’t near the very front of the grid.

“All that time? We are not losing that much time at all and did not use the same engine modes as the others,” Marko told Motorsport Magazin.

“The car is bouncing too much, that is true, but we recorded very good times in the long runs and also, the car bounced less with a lot of fuel onboard.

“But that is of no use if you don’t start at the front.”

More on Max Verstappen’s Monaco concerns

👉Max Verstappen: Red Bull stuck in setup trouble as Ferrari pace admission made

👉 Max Verstappen brands Red Bull RB20 a ‘kangaroo’ in startling Monaco practice

Touching specifically on Verstappen’s “kangaroo” complaints, Marko added: “If the car jumps like a kangaroo, you don’t know where it will jump. For us, the job is to minimise that.

“We have to make sure that we manage to do this without losing too much aerodynamic efficiency.

“It’s the usual game. In theory it’s clear, but the implementation is not so clear.”

But while the data after FP2 suggests either Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso could surprise around the streets of Monte Carlo, Marko believes they turned up their engines in FP2.

“Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Leclerc all turned up the engine as well,” he said. “We were closer to Leclerc in the second session, although he is still the favourite [for pole].”

Verstappen has yet to be beaten to a Grand Prix pole position this season, the Dutchman 7-0 in main qualifying.

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