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Helmut Marko

Marko fearful of China 'surprise' for Red Bull

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko is trying to use the lessons of being "completely wrong" at the Australian Grand Prix, to inform how best to minimise the "surprise" facing teams in China.

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Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko is concerned tyre wear could rear its ugly head for the world champions at the Chinese Grand Prix.

F1 returns to Shanghai for the first time since 2019 next weekend, with the current breed of cars never having raced at the track, on what is also a Sprint weekend.

Shanghai is a track with high tyre wear with big traction zones and long corners, with Red Bull being caught out with tyre wear that was a "surprise" in Australia, two races ago.

The RB20 was not as dominant as in any of the other three races, as Max Verstappen retired and Sergio Perez laboured to fifth on a difficult weekend for the team, which Marko put down to tyre concerns.

"I hope we won't have any surprises like in Melbourne," the Austrian told Sky Sport, when discussing the upcoming trip to the Shanghai International Circuit.

"There the asphalt was so aggressive and we were completely wrong about tyre wear, which is precisely one of our strengths."

With it also being the first Sprint weekend of the season, teams will be left with precious little time to get to grips with how to best set up the current generation of cars around a circuit that also has a new, and potentially, abrasive track surface.

'It could still be a surprise'

In order to prepare for a grand prix with a multiple unknown elements and just the sole hour of practice, Marko is looking back to the Australian Grand Prix for how to be ready for China.

Whilst the team confirmed that Perez was also hindered by an issue of his own, Marko highlighted how the Mexican struggled for grip during the race.

"You could see that with Checo [Perez], how much tyre wear there was," the 80-year-old said.

"So it could still be a surprise that way [in China], but we have been warned by what happened at Melbourne and I think now we know better how to react. But it's a completely new situation for most of us."

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