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Ferrari searching for answers over 'mega big' Red Bull DRS advantage

Red Bull has shown a significant advantage on their straight-line speed in the DRS zones.

Ferrari has admitted that it has been left searching for answers over Red Bull's "mega big" advantage in the DRS zones. The team appeared to show greater straight-line speed at the first race, after they addressed the deficit during the winter break. Top speeds in Bahrain showed Ferrari several KPH quicker than Red Bull, but at Saudi Arabia this was nerfed when Max Verstappen used his superior pace in the DRS zones to climb up to second. Ferrari Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur, says the team is trying to understand how they can make up such an advantage. "[The advantage is] Mega big, dare I say bigger than everybody else," said Vasseur to media, including RacingNews365.com . "We have to understand how they're able to do something like this. I think we've compensated part of the gap, but we have to improve on this. "I think that the difference was probably bigger last year, probably we were expecting to compensate a bit more, but the gap was bigger last year. "For sure we have room for improvement for this area, but they are doing something different, and they are doing something better - but we are on it."

Examining the top speeds

A look at the speeds throughout the best qualifying laps for Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz in Melbourne show that the Red Bull was quicker throughout most of the lap. Sainz was notably quicker through Turns 5 and 9 by 3kph, but the Red Bull could achieve higher speeds earlier in the DRS zones, which helped Verstappen through the four zones on the track - particularly into Turn 10 where the speed trap is (5.4kph). Compared to Charles Leclerc's pole attempt in 2022, Ferrari is matching itself at 306kph but Red Bull has managed an extra 7kph. Saudi Arabia is much of the same picture, where the Red Bull was comfortably quicker throughout the lap when you compare Sergio Perez's pole lap with Sainz's P5 effort. Leclerc's P2 effort from 2022 shows him 2kph faster than Sainz in 2023 through the sweeping high speed section between Turns 6 and 11, and 9kph faster than pole sitter Perez. It's tough to divulge too much from this given that traffic can often be a factor and track conditions but - given Ferrari's advantage in Bahrain - it does appear that Vasseur's assessment of Red Bull's year-on-year performance could be greater than he thinks for this season.

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