Max Verstappen sets record straight on Red Bull upgrades after Miami defeat

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen will race an updated RB20 in Imola

Bringing a new front wing and floor to Imola, Max Verstappen has quashed suggestions Red Bull are reacting to McLaren’s victory as the new package was “already planned” long before Miami.

Red Bull suffered their second defeat of the season at the Miami Grand Prix when Lando Norris, racing a heavily revised MCL38 that featured 10 new parts, took the win in a straight fight after a Safety Car restart.

Max Verstappen: Upgrades were already in the pipeline

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Max Verstappen conceded on the day that McLaren had the faster car.

But in a season that could be shaping up to have momentum shifts based on developments, it’s Red Bull’s turn to update their car with the team bringing two notable parts – a new front wing and floor – to Imola.

Verstappen says it’s not reactive, it was always the plan.

“I mean, it’s not responding,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com. “These things are already planned out for a long time.

“It’s not like one team comes with upgrades and we’re like, ‘oh, we need to put something together’. It’s literally already in the pipeline.

“We are happy with it, but of course, naturally you have to keep on pushing, because the teams behind us, they are definitely catching up.

“As you could see in Miami, when we don’t get things 100 per cent right, they’re ahead, and we have to try and make sure that we don’t have too many of those weekends.”

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What can Red Bull expect from their Imola upgrade?

Having won the Miami Grand Prix by seven seconds, McLaren declared that could be just the start given they expect their upgrade will actually be better suited to other circuits more than the Miami Autodrome.

But whether Imola will be one such circuit remains to be seen, says Verstappen.

“McLaren came with a really big upgrade, so I guess we will only find out here how good that upgrade is going to be because it always takes a bit of time to fully get on top of things, but we knew that,” he said.

“I mean, it’s about little details that can make quite a big difference in terms of lap times sometimes.

“I think especially on a track like Miami, everything is very sensitive, it’s very hot, so a bit too much sliding here and there can make you lose quite a bit of lap time.”

McLaren and Red Bull aren’t the only teams introducing upgrades with Ferrari set to put a Red Bull-inspired SF-24 on the track at Imola.

With more convergence with the cars towards the Red Bull philosophy, Verstappen says it’s a case of needing to be perfect to claim the win with Red Bull having already lost two wins this season having only dropped one last year.

“Was it because we were doing everything right? Or people doing things wrong?” he said of 2023. “You know, or the other way around? It’s always very difficult to tell.

“But of course, you always have to try and be on top of your game. But naturally, that is not always the case.

“I mean, you can’t have every single weekend where everything goes perfect. That’s impossible. But you always strive to be to that perfection, but sometimes it works out a bit better. Miami didn’t really work out that well.

“And naturally when other people are improving, and making their cars look a bit more like ours, they got a bit closer.”

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