Allison suggests Red Bull latest upgrade 'was a downgrade'


Mercedes technical director James Allison has suggested that Red Bull’s latest upgrade package might have backfired, leading to a decrease in performance instead of the anticipated gains.

The reigning world champion’s recent dip in form has become a talking point in the F1 paddock.

After dominating the early stages of the 2024 season, the Milton Keynes-based outfit and Max Verstappen have conceded two defeats in the last three races to their McLaren and Ferrari rivals.

The bulls’ underperformance was particularly severe in Monaco last time out where the RB20’s compliance and balance issues, rooted in the street circuit’s bumps and aggressive kerbs, significantly hindered Verstappen’s comfort and pace.

But Allsion suggests that the RB20’s sensitivity to kerbs in slower speed corners might not be its only issue, with the design’s recently updated floor and front wing also negatively impacting Red Bull’s contender.

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"I guess as soon as there's a decent range of cornering speeds, they'll be useful again, but it does look as if their upgrade was a downgrade," commented Allison in Montreal.

"So, fingers crossed that would really mess them up.

"That [an upgrade not working] makes life hard, because the moment you stop trusting your tools, you have to backtrack, and you lose loads of time. Time is your biggest friend, losing it is your worst enemy."

Mercedes technical director James Allison.

Allison suggested that Red Bull’s plight has given Mercedes a boost of enthusiasm as “everyone always loves other people's misery in this game."

The Brackley squad’s updates in Montreal are minimal but nevertheless include tweaks to the W15’s front suspension tweaks and a circuit specific change to the car’s brake duct inlet size to improve heat rejection.

Progress is likely to be incremental, but Allison will take it for the time being.
"I have to confess, I'm not really thinking of it in big-picture terms like that," he said. "I'm just thinking where we are now appears to be somewhat better than we were two races ago.

"Hopefully, we will be somewhat better in a couple of races from now.

"We've gone from being really embarrassingly crap, not good enough, at the beginning of the year, to be near the fight. A little bit more will get us right in the melee."

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