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Max Verstappen

Red Bull carried out secret F1 test in Italy - report

Red Bull and Max Verstappen reportedly carried out a secret test in Imola on Wednesday in its 2022 car, the RB18.

Verstappen Imola
To news overview © XPB

It has been reported that Red Bull and Max Verstappen completed a secret test in Imola ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the team used the RB18 from 2022 in order to map out some of the difference between its first car of the current ground-effects era and this year's car.

The RB20 cannot be tested, apart from filming days, but as the team has data from the recent Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, it can still run a direct comparison.

The team has been struggling since that round of the season, which it narrowly won, with Max Verstappen holding off a late charge by McLaren's Lando Norris.

In the subsequent two grand prix, Red Bull found itself off the pace in Monaco, before it returned to race-winning form in Montreal. However, it was also a closely-fought affair, with the Dutchman again not able to comfortably beat Norris and the Mercedes of George Russell.

Red Bull started the season in the dominant fashion it enjoyed throughout 2023, but the past three rounds - as well as the prior event in Miami, where Norris took his maiden grand prix win - highlighted vulnerabilities in the RB20.

The main issue is it struggles with bumps and kerbs, all which are prevalent in Imola, Monaco and Montreal. The RB19 also struggled around the streets of Monte Carlo, but not to the same extent, and the RB18 - which was allegedly tested in Italy did not appear to be afflicted with the problems.

The RB20 is thought to be broadly unchanged for the Spanish Grand Prix, except for some minor tweaks, but a larger upgrade packaged is believed to be coming next month.

Red Bull is expected to have a better weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. As a more conventional track, and one that has a range of corner profiles, aerodynamic performance will trump kerb-riding ability - something that will benefit the RB20.

Also interesting:

Join Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding in the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, looking ahead to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. 

The trio discuss how significant this weekend is in the title fight, whether Red Bull's advantage will return and if Andrea Kimi Antonelli will now make his F1 debut at just 17 years old. Much, much more is also discussed! 

Rather watch then listen to our podcast? Click here.

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