Max Verstappen reveals surprise brake failure timeline after communication questions raised

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen speaking with Alex Albon in the press conference

Max Verstappen's winning streak ended with a DNF in Australia.

After questions were raised about Red Bull’s lack of communication before Max Verstappen’s brake failure in Melbourne, the driver has revealed the team knew on Saturday already something wasn’t right.

Verstappen retired early in the Australian Grand Prix when his right rear brake failed, which led to it exploding as he made his way down the pit lane to retire the car.

‘We saw already some signs on Saturday…’

Former Aston Martin strategist Bernie Collins, speaking on the Sky Sports podcast, was perplexed by the lack of communication between the pit wall and the driver.

“When we watched the race and listened to Verstappen’s radio, there was very little discussion about the brake temperatures on there through that first stint,” she said.

“There’s no real information from the pit wall to say ‘We can see that the caliper is trailing, there’s pressure on the brakes’. There was no discussion.”

That may be because Red Bull knew already on the Saturday that there was an issue with Verstappen’s RB20, they just weren’t able to find it.

“I think we saw already some signs on Saturday where things were maybe not looking like they should have done,” he told the media in Japan.

“Of course then now in hindsight, yeah you can say that it was coming from the brake caliper. But we couldn’t find any fault with the car.

“Which in a way, of course it’s always bad to retire, but when you have a fault in maybe the build spec or whatever, it’s a bit worse.

“So we’ll just move on from there and learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again. But normally it shouldn’t.”

Asked if he had concerns about it ahead of the Japanese GP weekend, he replied: “No, no.”

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Heading into the Japanese Grand Prix on the back of his Australian GP DNF, the Dutchman was asked about Red Bull’s confidence especially in light of last year’s event.

The 2023 Japanese GP was held last September with the team heading to Suzuka on the back of a wretched Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Verstappen, though, bounced back from that to take the win almost 20 seconds ahead of Lando Norris.

“Every year is different,” he said, “but also last year we had a bit of a difficult weekend in Singapore.

“I think if you look at Melbourne, performance-wise I think we’re quick but we didn’t finish the race.

“Our car normally likes the high-speed corners so hopefully we can show that again this weekend.”

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