Is Red Bull’s weight gain behind their Austrian tyre issues?

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc waving to the fans. Austria July 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc waving to the fans. Austria July 2022

Perplexed as to why their RB18 suffered with high tyre degradation at the Austrian GP, Auto Motor und Sport suggestions that could be because the Red Bull has ‘gained some weight again after the recent upgrades’.

Taking the chequered flag in Saturday’s sprint race, Max Verstappen lined up P1 on the grid ahead of Charles Leclerc for Sunday’s grand prix.

It was the latter who had the better pace on the day, Leclerc passing Verstappen on three separate occasions as their strategies played out.

The Ferrari driver took the win ahead of his Dutch title rival.

But while Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto was happy to say the F1-75 “protected the tyres”, Red Bull had the complete opposite.

“It was very strange,” Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko told De Telegraaf. “The first three sets of tyres we had an incredible amount of wear. We couldn’t explain that.

“And then the funny thing was on that last set of tyres we were fast again.

“There was nothing wrong with the car, but with the tyres and in particular their excessive temperature.”

On a day when Leclerc and his Ferrari were the better package, Verstappen only lost five points to his title rival in the Drivers’ Championship.

“We limited the damage,” Marko added. “Ferrari and we are at more or less the same level all year round. It’s about little things. We’re not worried, it’s not like we’re suddenly losing the championship here.”

But according to Auto Motor und Sport, there could be a bigger issue in play with Red Bull’s RB18 once again sorely overweight.

According to Andrew Haupt, the RB18 has gained some weight again after the recent upgrades that Red Bull have brought. It is said to be around 10kg over the minimum weight.

He added that it is ‘around ten kilos above the minimum weight’ while the ‘Ferrari is said to be around 798 kilos.’

This was a problem for Red Bull around the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.

‘Red Bull scratched their heads. The team did not recognise their own car. It took the tyres a lot harder than in the sprint,’ the AMuS report continues.

“We have three suspicions: the slightly dropped temperatures. The full tanks. Or the overnight rain that washed away the grip,” speculated team boss Christian Horner. “These cars are so sensitive that if you fall out the window, you’ll pay the price.”


Highlights from the Austrian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc took his first win in eight races, and Ferrari definitely needed it.