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Max Verstappen

Verstappen 'not worried at all' by new Mercedes, Red Bull upgrades coming

The Formula 1 World Champion says he is not "at all" worried about Mercedes' new 'sidepod-less' design that has been the talk of the paddock on day one in Bahrain.

Max Verstappen has teased that there could be plenty of upgrades coming Red Bull's way over the course of their stay in Bahrain, adding that he is "not worried at all" by the new, aggressive-looking Mercedes W13.

Mercedes wheeled a new-look car from the garage on morning one in Bahrain, very different to the car they took to Barcelona, surprising engineers and aerodynamicists up and down the paddock.

Their sidepod design is unlike any other seen on this season's new cars, leaving fans to speculate as to whether or not it is legal.

Red Bull say they will take time to "understand" and "digest" the concept, with team boss Christian Horner admitting that it stands out from the pack – but Verstappen is not worried, instead vowing to focus on his own testing programme in Sakhir.

Verstappen: I am not worried at all by new Mercedes

"No, I'm not concerned," Verstappen told select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked about the upgraded W13.

"I mean, we can only focus on ourselves. I've said this so many times last year, you know, and that's what we have to do again this year.

"Even if the cars look a bit different, there are so, so many unknown things still that we need to learn about so no, [I'm] not worried at all."

Red Bull "trying different things" in Bahrain

With Sergio Perez behind the wheel, Red Bull completed 70 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday morning, more than any other team.

They did so with flow-vis paint often splattered across their car's bodywork, as Red Bull's aerodynamicists look to learn all they can about their new RB18.

And as Verstappen waits to jump in the car on Friday, the goal for the team between now and Saturday evening is clear.

When asked what Red Bull hope to take away from the Bahrain test, Verstappen responded: "Laps, to understand the car more.

"I think that's the main priority, just trying to understand what you need from the car, try different things on the car in terms of set-up, also for other tracks, if you have issues, what kind of direction you need to go into. It's all about that really."

Questioned if "lots of upgrades" are on the way this week, Verstappen said: "Maybe!"

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: All you need to know after the first pre-season test

At the end of the first pre-season test of 2022 in Barcelona, Dieter Rencken and Thomas Maher discuss the on- and off-track developments so far.

F1 2022 Bahrain pre-season test RN365 News dossier

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