New theory on Red Bull struggles emerges after Monaco exposes weakness

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen on the approach to Portier corner in Monaco

Max Verstappen rides the kerbs in Monaco

Former Aston Martin strategy chief Bernie Collins explained how she believes the prioritising of aerodynamics with the Red Bull concept leads to the struggles over bumpy surfaces, which plagued Max Verstappen in Monaco.

Championship leader Verstappen was far from pleased with his Red Bull RB20 in Monaco, citing an inability to ride the kerbs of this tight and technical street track, at one stage saying his RB20 felt like “a go-kart with no suspension and no dampers”.

Red Bull RB20 ‘should get better’ away from street tracks

Verstappen qualified and finished the Monaco Grand Prix P6, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc taking his first win of the F1 2024 campaign on home soil. Next up is the Canadian Grand Prix, as Ferrari and McLaren threaten to mount a title challenge against Verstappen and Red Bull.

Speaking on the Sky F1 podcast, Collins offered her theory for why the Red Bull RB20 did not take too kindly to the bumps and kerbs of Monaco, explaining that “mechanical sympathy comes second” with the Red Bull concept which is focused on aerodynamics, making a bumpy surface problematic.

“I think as we move away from street circuits, then that should get better,” said Collins of Red Bull’s kerbing issue.

“The whole aero platform, the philosophy of the Red Bull is very much prioritise aero, mechanical sympathy comes second. That’s always been the way that they’ve had the best aero performing car.

“Now, on a flat, smooth surface, high-speed corners, that’s easy to achieve. On a bumpy track, a street track, a track with very aggressive kerbs, much, much more difficult to achieve.

Can Red Bull repel the McLaren and Ferrari threat?

👉 Helmut Marko details Red Bull ‘worst case’ scenario after $3million Sergio Perez Monaco shunt

👉 F1 schedule: When is the next F1 race and where is it being held?

“So you know, Canada can be quite bumpy I think at times, so there is potential there, because it is a temporary track surface really.

“Barcelona should be a lot better. So we’ll have a mix. But anything that is sort of a street track or where there’s that sort of unsettled, will be a struggle.

“Now, there is more margin in those other ones. There is more margin in Canada to sort of have a slightly different line or whatever.

“The problem with Monaco is there’s no margin, the wall is right there. So if you don’t feel confident in the car, and you’re taking any sort of extra margin because of bumps or unsettled, then you’re losing lap time. Whereas the tracks where the walls aren’t so close, then you can potentially start to explore the limits a little bit more.”

The stats are in Red Bull’s favour for the Canadian Grand Prix, as Verstappen heads to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve chasing a third victory in as many years.

Read next: McLaren ‘copy better’ than others in Helmut Marko’s latest F1 pecking order verdict