Red Bull chief engineer casts doubt on Fernando Alonso’s pace theory

Michelle Foster
Red Bull RB19, Aston Martin AMR23, Mercedes W14 at the Austrian Grand Prix. Red Bull Ring, July 2023.

Red Bull RB19, Aston Martin AMR23, Mercedes W14 at the Austrian Grand Prix. Red Bull Ring, July 2023.

As Fernando Alonso pondered whether the revised Pirelli tyres have hurt Aston Martin’s performance, Paul Monaghan reckons it’s upgrades, not tyres, that have changed the pecking order behind Red Bull.

Although this year’s championship has seen one team remain the one to beat, Red Bull, behind the Milton Keynes squad the pecking order has changed.

At the start of the season P2 belonged to Aston Martin, Ferrari have a brief foray, as did Mercedes and now it’s McLaren while Aston Martin have fallen to fourth, if not even fifth, best on the track.

Red Bull: It might not just be the tyres

Alonso, who has not featured on the podium in the last three races having begun his season with six top-three results in eight races, blames Pirelli.

Putting revised tyres on the track at the British Grand Prix, Alonso said of his team’s slump: “It is a coincidence that when the new Pirelli tyres came in Silverstone there are a couple of teams that were struggling more, and a couple of teams that are very happy with the car now.

“It’s not only us, I think Red Bull has clearly been hit with those tyres.”

That was put to Monaghan only for the Red Bull’s chief engineer to downplay Alonso’s conspiracy about the new reinforced rubber, tyres designed to deal with this year’s increasing downforce levels.

“That’s hard to tell because we were given the opportunity in Spain to do a back-to-back [runs with the revised tyres] and learned a little bit of what was coming and prepared ourselves for Silverstone,” he said.

“People will remember the British Grand Prix after the Safety Car, but if you look prior to the Safety Car, Max [Verstappen] relative to Lando [Norris] put himself in a reasonable position.

“It closed up and everybody rolled the dice on what tyre to put on thereafter.”

In fact, Monaghan reckons Aston Martin’s slump is not down to the tyres but rather Formula 1’s development war with the likes of McLaren surging ahead in recent weeks. recommends

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“We can’t put other people’s cars back on the previous tyres, so I can’t answer your question objectively, but subjectively, no one is standing still,” he continued.

“The challenge is to try and sort your car out through this year and give yourself a better platform into next year.

“Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Alpine, Alfa Romeo are all allowed to develop. They have a little bit more wind tunnel and CFD time than us, which is fine and nature of the beast.

“It might not just be the tyres, we are looking at what other people have done.”

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