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RB avoiding 'great risks' amid qualifying prediction

RB racing director Alan Permane is not expecting qualifying in Saudi Arabia to be as close as it was last weekend at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ricciardo Saudi Arabia FP1
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To news overview © XPBimages

RB racing director Alan Permane has predicted that qualifying this weekend at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will not be as close as it was last weekend, with the side having avoided taking any "great risks".

Qualifying in Bahrain ahead of the first race of 2024 was phenomenally close, with the entire field in Q1 having been separated by just one-second. Of course, the teams entered qualifying in Bahrain with substantial data, gathered during pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The current home of the Saudi Arabian GP – the Jeddah Corniche Circuit – could not be any more different, as it is a fast and flowing street circuit. It is a track which rewards drivers for pushing to the limit, with Permane expecting the field to be more spread out in qualifying on Friday evening.

"Honestly, it was super close there," Permane told select media including RacingNews365. "Maybe it won't be quite so tight here. I don't think we've taken any crazy risks. We had the car setup as aerodynamically efficient as we could with cooling.

"And we'll do the same here, we certainly haven't taken any great risks on it."

'Huge risks' avoided

In the past, some teams have sacrificed race performance in order to install a more aggressive car setup, in the hope of a Q3 appearance. For now, this isn't on RB's agenda.

"No, we're not," added Permane. "We're not really, we've got to get to the end of the race as well. Certainly, Bahrain is reasonably high brake wear.

"So it's not like we're closing the brake ducts up to gain an extra couple of hundreds, and then take huge risks in the race. We're not there yet."

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