‘No nasties’ for Max in ‘positive first morning’

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen talks in the Red Bull garage. Spain, February 2022.

Max Verstappen talking in the Red Bull garage at the Barcelona shakedown. Spain, February 2022.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said reigning champion Max Verstappen had a positive and smooth start to testing in Barcelona.

Following all the talk surrounding the new 2022 cars, finally they hit the track as a group for the first time with the unofficial start of pre-season.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, venue for the Spanish Grand Prix, is also home to this three-day test where the drivers will lose the restrictions of filming days to put the 2022 challengers through their paces.

At Red Bull it was Verstappen who kicked off the action, taking the RB18 out onto the track on Wednesday morning.

And although the 2021 World Champion was not lighting up the timing sheets, Horner explained no nasty surprises had cropped up in what was a long but calm session for Verstappen – the perfect outcome at this early stage of pre-season.

Max Verstappen on-track in Barcelona. Spain, February 2022.

Speaking to reporters at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Horner said: “He felt the car had a good balance, it was good to drive, so certainly no nasties that have manifested themselves and a positive first morning.”

Red Bull had chosen to use a show car for their 2022 launch in order to hide many of their innovations, but with the start of the Barcelona shakedown the time had arrived for the covers to be removed from the real RB18 – with the unique design sparking discussion from the off.

It also captured the attention of Verstappen’s 2021 title rival Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver popping over to Red Bull’s garage for a closer look.

With tongue in cheek, Horner said it is amazing how quickly Formula 1 can evolve, but with a more serious tone he explained the RB18 will likely evolve again before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.

“It’s just amazing how quickly Formula 1 evolves,” he said with a smile.

“From the launch a couple of weeks ago to how the car is now, and it will probably evolve again for the first race.

“Of course, at the launch you don’t want to give your rivals all your details, so it was more of a livery launch than a car launch. So the first time the car has been seen in public is today.”


Verstappen will hand over the RB18 to team-mate Sergio Perez on Thursday.


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