Despite Max Verstappen‘s 80-point lead over Charles Leclerc and Red Bull‘s 97-point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’ standings, Adrian Newey and his technical team have decided to take one last crack at the current Formula 1 season.
After 13 races with a car that was about 8kg over the 798kg minimum weight set by the regulations for 2022, the Milton Keynes-based team finally received their lightweight chassis this weekend.
It was originally scheduled for Singapore (October 2), but according to various sources in the paddock, both Verstappen and Sergio Perez have had the new chassis with its corresponding crash test, in Free Practice 1 and 2 of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The RB18 was estimated to be around 8kg over the minimum weight of 798kg, with only Mercedes in a similar situation.
The rest, such as McLaren, Haas, Aston Martin and Williams, as well as Ferrari are over 3kgs overweight, while Alpine and Alfa Romeo were already close to the ‘ideal’ weight.
Four kilos less
Thus, Red Bull have lost four kilos and are very close to Ferrari, around 802 kilos. It’s not difficult to calculate: if with four extra kilos, Verstappen has taken 80 points from Leclerc, what awaits him and Sainz in the nine races remaining until the end of the season?
Max‘s 0.8 second gap over Leclerc in FP2 may begin to indicate that the F1-75’s hegemony over the one-lap race, where it has taken 8 poles (7 by Leclerc and 1 by Carlos) could be very much in jeopardy.
The Dutchman has taken 3 and Perez 1, with Russell (Hungary) completing the season’s top positions. Ferrari‘s superiority could now come to an end.
The World Championship is very much in the bag, if not virtually won by the reigning champions, but this new chassis, which serves as the basis for the 2023 car and saves on next season’s budget, has caused concern in Ferrari‘s ranks.
They are convinced that Red Bull already fitted it on Friday, although the Austrian team is maintaining a stony silence.