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Why Marko is confident Red Bull aren't half a second behind

Helmut Marko is confident that Red Bull aren't lagging half a second compared to the fastest cars, after finishing with that deficit to the top in the Barcelona test.

Red Bull may have finished almost half a second away from the fastest times set by Mercedes in the Barcelona pre-season test, but Helmut Marko is confident that his team aren't really that far off the pace. Rumours have circulated elsewhere since the first three days of pre-season testing that the Red Bull RB18 is struggling with some excess weight above the 795 kilogram minimum requirement, which might explain why Sergio Perez's best time on Friday was four-tenths slower than the fastest time set by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. With Hamilton using the softest C5 compound, Perez used the C4 tyre for his best time. Max Verstappen was a further two-tenths off the pace, but set his fastest time on the Medium C3 compound. "Nobody knows who drove with how much weight," Marko told Austrian publication OE24. " It seems that besides us and Mercedes, Ferrari could be up front again."

Red Bull "a long way from the weight limit"

Reflecting on Red Bull's three days of testing in Barcelona, Marko denied that the gap could be as wide as half a second between Red Bull and the front. "We're not half a second behind," he commented. "We drove on hard tyres (sic) while Mercedes was on two levels of softer tyres. But I'm looking forward to the next test. "The cars are heavy, but extremely fast. It's exciting to see how the new regulations will be interpreted. Mercedes has a completely different concept than we do." Marko acknowledged the rumours regarding the RB18's excess weight, and said further parts are coming to help refine the new machine. "We're still a long way from the weight limit," he admitted, "and there are new parts as well."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Monaco Grand Prix - Free Practice 2