‘It is all dramatic’ – Dutch pundit quashes Red Bull woes and title fight hype

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen gets oh-so close to the barrier in Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen gets oh-so close to the barrier in Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

Rivals dreaming of a title fight will be disappointed as Allard Kalff believes everyone is “pretending that it is all dramatic” but it really isn’t – Red Bull will win again and very soon.

Losing two of the last three Grands Prix, Miami and Monaco, and pushed to the chequered flag in Imola, Max Verstappen declared in Monaco that Red Bull had been “found out”.

Are Red Bull woes being over-hyped?

As their rivals, led by Ferrari and McLaren, have closed the gap, a “fundamental” issue with Red Bull’s F1 car has come to light in its weakness in dealing with kerbs and bumps.

But, according to Verstappen, it’s a problem they have had since 2022 but that in yesteryear their advantage over their rivals masked it.

“It’s also not something new, we’ve had this problem since 2022. For the last two years, I think we had a car advantage,” he said.

“So then it gets masked a little bit because we gain in the corners where the curves and the bumps are not that much of a limitation. But with everyone catching up, naturally, when you’re not improving your weakest point, you get found out.”

Helmut Marko admits it is an issue that could also affect the team in Canada with the Red Bull motorsport advisor predicting Montreal could be “a difficult weekend for us”.

But before rivals and non-Red Bull fans start crowing about a 2024 title fight, and the potential end of Red Bull’s reign, Dutch racing driver Kalff reckons the drama is being hyped up and Verstappen will be back on the top step of the podium in Canada.

“I don’t think we should be dramatic either,” Kalff told Viaplay’s In the Slipstream. “In Shanghai and Suzuka, Max was supreme. That cannot suddenly disappear.

“It is also circuit-dependent and Max could have easily won in Miami if he had not knocked over that bollard.

“And if Max completes his lap here in qualifying, he will simply be on the front row and come second behind Leclerc. Then you talk very differently.

“We are now pretending that it is all dramatic, but we will first wait for Canada and Barcelona. He can win in Canada and he will win in Barcelona.”

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‘Red Bull have one who is not even participating’

However, his fellow pundit Kees van der Grint reckons Red Bull have one big weakness in the title fight: Sergio Perez.

Perez has fewer podiums than Verstappen has Grand Prix wins, four is to five, and sits on 107 points to his team-mate’s 169.

With Red Bull just 24 points ahead of Ferrari, the Mexican driver’s form could yet cost Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.

Perez has also not featured inside the top ten in the last two qualifying sessions, Imola and Monte Carlo, leaving Verstappen near the front of the grid but without support.

“The car is less dominant, but it was last year too. Only last year the competition was not that strong,” said former Bridgestone tyre engineer van der Grint.

Kalff chipped in: “And now they actually have four competitors!”

Van der Grint replied: “The other two teams have two good drivers and Red Bull has one super driver and one who is not even participating.”

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