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Helmut Marko

Marko downbeat on Red Bull woes after torrid day at Imola

Dr Helmut Marko has explained how set-up changes made between FP1 and FP2 made matters worse for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Verstappen Perez Imola
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has said the team was further off where it needed to be after FP2 at Imola than after the first session, despite making set-up changes.

Friday of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was a torrid day for the Milton Keynes outfit. Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen finished FP1 in fourth and fifth positions, with the Dutchman noticeably unhappy with his RB20.

The car looked unsettled and nervous, particularly through the second sector. This forced the team into changing approach for FP2. However, it did not appear to completely fix the issues, with Verstappen having another messy session and was clearly frustrated by the issues. He finished in seventh - just one place above Perez.

Marko explained how the set-up changes made between the two disappointing sessions were a compromise, with race trim being impacted by the new direction. Whilst Verstappen was initially happier with his tyres in FP2, that was part of the trade-off - something Red Bull are not used to experiencing.

"Relatively speaking, we are further off after the second free practice than we were earlier today," the 81-year-old told German outlet Motorsport-Magazin. "In other words, the changes to the setup did not turn out to be the right ones."

"Tyres and setup go hand-in-hand. And it was indeed worse in FP1. But now on the long run, we were not competitive. We are now in a position that we are not normally in."

'If Verstappen can't do that, then something is well wrong'

The difficulties Red Bull face at Imola come off the back of Verstappen being beaten on-track for the first time this season, after Lando Norris' debut F1 win last time out in Miami.

The pace shown by McLaren was due to an extensive upgrade package. With Ferrari also bringing comprehensive updates for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Red Bull having its worst Friday of the year could not have come at a worse time.

The reigning constructors' champions found Perez experiencing the same issues as his team-mate. But for Marko, its lead driver having problems is a more concerning matter.

"Both drivers have about the same problems, but fighting with the rear we have had more often. What worries me more is that Verstappen has problems with it," he explained. "That means he can't get control of it. And if Verstappen can't do that, then something is well wrong." 

Despite the cause for worry, Marko does not believe the difficulties seen on Friday will be as prevalent come Saturday's main session, adding: "The gap in the qualifying simulations was not as big as it seems, but the rest is definitely alarming."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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