Red Bull believe their car has started the 2022 season up to 10 kilograms heavier than some of their rivals', leaving the team optimistic that dropping weight will see them gain up to three-tenths of lap time.
That is according to advisor Helmut Marko, who has admitted that it will take a number of races for the RB18's weight-stripping process to be complete.
The car/driver minimum weight combination currently stands at 795kg, with bigger wheels and an array of new safety features all contributing to that.
Red Bull are amongst the teams to have raced with a heavier car than desired in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, despite their best efforts to run as light as is permitted.
And they will do so once against in Imola and Miami, Marko has admitted, with the Milton Keynes-based squad not expected to make any major progress in slimming down their challenger until the Spanish Grand Prix in mid-May.
Red Bull slim down promises big rewards
Red Bull have started the new season armed with a car capable of fighting Ferrari at the front, only for reliability problems to have left them well behind in the standings.
But, with the team hopeful that the worst of their issues are behind them, the process of slimming down their RB18 car promises big rewards in terms of lap time.
"Ferrari has come closer to the weight limit than we have. We believe that we have 10 kilograms too much, that's at least three-tenths," Marko told German publication F1-Insider.
"That gives us additional hope, because we'll be three-tenths faster just because we're slimming down."
Porpoising has been a problem for Red Bull
The challenge for Red Bull is to find a way to reduce the weight of their RB18 without causing fresh problems to what they believe is a car packed full of potential.
The team have also struggled with porpoising, Marko says, despite Mercedes and Ferrari both appearing to bounce more noticeably and severely when out on track.
"You can't simply build a chassis 10 kilos lighter. You have to start in all areas," he went on to explain.
"Then there is the budget limit, and you shouldn't jeopardise reliability.
"Even if the bouncing doesn't look that brutal with us from a purely visual point of view, the loads are enormous. You have to find a healthy middle ground, but that doesn't happen overnight."
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Ferrari had an advantage ahead of 2022
While Red Bull and Mercedes have struggled with different issues so far in 2022, Ferrari have encountered no major problems, with "driver error" blamed for their only retirement when Carlos Sainz recorded a DNF in Australia.
The Scuderia's near-perfect start was aided by their willingness to abandon the 2021 season early, says Marko, as Red Bull and Mercedes battled it out for the World Championship.
"That was definitely an advantage, but we didn't really have a choice, because we were fighting for the title with Mercedes until the very end, and this world title was extremely important to us," added Marko.
"But when you see the problems Mercedes are having with the car, then we managed it well."
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