Midfield team in line for potential surge forward with planned Miami GP upgrade

Michelle Foster
The Miami Grand Prix circuit

Miami is one of 24 locations on the 2024 F1 calendar.

‘Surfing’ the crest of F1’s lower half, for lack of a more eloquent point of view, RB intend riding that wave with their latest batch of upgrades.

Although yesterday it was thought introducing an upgraded package at a Sprint race was a recipe for disaster, of late teams have had success despite the shorter practice session.

‘There is nothing guaranteed in this group’

Limited to just one hour of running on a Friday, Mercedes made gains at last year’s United States GP where Lewis Hamilton was second before a floor infringement saw him disqualified, while this year Nico Hulkenberg scored a point for Haas.

Such have been the leaps forward in the teams’ simulator knowledge, they are no longer afraid to bring updates to Sprint weekends.

And so it will be for RB this coming weekend in Miami.

Despite F1’s back-to-back Sprint weekends, which included handing Daniel Ricciardo a new chassis in China, RB will upgrade the VCARB01 in Miami.

“We’ll have an update in Miami to help us try to keep surfing on the top of that very edge,” team boss Laurent Mekies confirmed to Motorsport.com. “I’m sure our competitors will bring updates as well.

“There is nothing guaranteed in this group, and only if you nail the weekend will you get to that P10.

“We’ve never been confident that we have the quickest car of the five [teams at the back]. We got it there by half a tenth in Australia, half a tenth Japan and we missed it by a 10th and a half in China.

“In the race we were probably equal, or if not half a tenth ahead, so we’ve never had any confidence. It’s a battle every time. But it’s a fantastic exercise for everyone.

“It’s superb training for the team to execute sharp weekends, and you need a strong race from every perspective. It’s only by doing that you will get a point.

“As soon as one of these elements – be it tyre management, strategy, or anything – falls off the cliff, you will give up that point.”

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RB are sixth in the championship on seven points, two ahead of Haas, with all the points scored by Yuki Tsunoda.

Ricciardo, though, believes he is knocking on the door of the top ten.

“From the get-go it just felt like we’re in a better place and everything came a bit more seamlessly,” he told the media after the Chinese Grand Prix.

“We did change chassis. I don’t want to jump on that and be like: “It’s definitely that’. But something didn’t make me feel right with the previous chassis I was racing.

“I would love to kind of be here in five races’ time and say that, because then it means the season has definitely turned around and I get that monkey off our back.

“We’ll see in Miami, and Imola and maybe the next few [races] if it continues.”

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