Ted Kravitz explains why ‘extreme’ Red Bull RB20 concept ‘inherently not set up to like’ Monaco

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and the Monaco barriers

Max Verstappen and the Monaco barriers

Max Verstappen’s pole position streak came to an abrupt end in Monaco with Ted Kravitz claiming the “inherent concept” of the RB20 is just not suited to the Monte Carlo street circuit.

Verstappen had a trying time in Monaco in the practice sessions on Friday but seemed to bounce back in Saturday’s final session where he was less than two-tenths down on Charles Leclerc.

Ted Kravitz points to the ‘inherent concept of this Red Bull’

But having complained about his RB20 jumping like a “kangaroo” and giving him a headache, Verstappen’s woes returned in qualifying where he finished down in sixth place.

0.297s slower than Leclerc’s pole position time, the reigning World Champion likened his RB20 to a “go-kart”.

“It’s been bad,” he said of Red Bull’s performance this weekend. “I can’t take any kerbs in the middle sector, I’m driving around the kerbs.

“It honestly feels like I’m driving a go-kart with no suspension and no dampers. So it’s been very difficult for us.”

Kravitz believes that’s because one of the secrets behind the Red Bull RB20 is its “extreme suspension layout” that requires a “stiff” set-up to work, and running a car stiff doesn’t work in Monaco.

More from the Monaco Grand Prix

👉 Winners and losers: Sergio Perez unquestionably biggest loser in Monaco GP qualifying

👉 Monaco GP predictions: No Verstappen podium, Leclerc curse over and first Williams points

“It’s fair to say it’s one of those things that our expectations were about everybody to be level but our expectations were not for Red Bull to be that far down,” he said in his post-qualifying Notebook.

“What did Max Verstappen call it? This car is ‘slippery’ and it doesn’t mean slippery as in fast in a straight line. He means slippery as in not having any grip.

“And why is that? Well, I can tell you. It is the inherent concept of this Red Bull.

“In order to create a stable aerodynamic platform to get the best out of the floor where most downforce is generated, they have this rather unusual extreme suspension layout where they have this thing called anti-dive at the front and anti-squat at the rear.

“And so with those suspension geometry and those characteristics, what it means is that when obviously the driver brakes, the front resists any dive into the corner in order to keep the aerodynamic platform stable.

“In order to make that set platform work, you have to run it stiff and that’s not what Monaco wants. Monaco as a track does not want to be run with a stiff aerodynamic set-up.

“So inherently this Red Bull is not set up to like tracks, and Singapore is the same where Sainz of course won last year, so sixth for Max Verstappen and 18 for Sergio Perez.

“They needed a mega Max lap, which he tried but he clumped the wall on his last attempt, ‘man, this car is slippery’, and he’s to 0.297 off pole, so almost three-tenths of a second of pole position, which for Max Verstappen is rather a lot.”

Read next: Max Verstappen sets record straight on Christian Horner and Jos Verstappen ‘conflict’