Testing got off to a solid start for Max Verstappen, the driver happy with his new RB18, but he says the car he ran in Spain won’t be the one he drives next week in Bahrain.
Formula 1 has a new look this season, the sport now using ground effect aerodynamics to create the cars’ downforce.
The teams had their first outing last week at the Circuit de Catalunya, taking part in what was billed as a group shakedown over the course of three days.
Verstappen covered 206 laps, more than three race distances, and finished inside the top six.
The reigning World Champion says so far, so good.
“I just focussed on doing a lot of laps and try to really nail down every single aspect of the car,” he told the official F1 website.
“What was positive is the car was running smooth.”
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) February 28, 2022
But while he was “happy with the balance” of the new car, he revealed the RB18 will be a lot different at the second test.
“Bahrain is going to be completely different, and heading into race one, the car will be completely different as well,” he added.
According to F1.com journalist Lawrence Barretto, Red Bull will bring a major upgrade to the second outing, the official pre-season test in Bahrain which begins on 10 March.
He said the Barcelona car was “only an early iteration.
“Sources say Red Bull will bring a significantly upgraded car to Bahrain, as was always the plan, and after a reasonably productive opening test focused on reliability and system checks, they’ll turn their attention to chasing performance next week.”
The first pre-season outing concluded with a 1-2 for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton edging George Russell while Perez was a further three-tenths down.
Verstappen was P6 overall, 0.6s slower than Hamilton’s P1 time.
“I don’t really pay attention to the lap times yet; we will look into that in Q3 in Bahrain,” said the Dutchman.
“The car runs really well. In general, the weight is a bit up, but I really enjoy driving the car, it has a nice stable balance and I think they look cool as well – that’s always nice to jump into.”
A ‘completely different’ RB18 for the Bahrain test
Max Verstappen has confirmed that the RB18 will be different in Bahrain to what we saw in Barcelona.