'Australia race revealed Red Bull's vulnerabilities. They're not invincible.'

“It was an unusual weekend and what that gave was opportunity to everybody else up and down the grid."

by Sead Dedovic
'Australia race revealed Red Bull's vulnerabilities. They're not invincible.'
© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

Max Verstappen's DNF at the Australian GP has caused a huge number of reactions. F1 fans didn't expect such an outcome for Red Bull, considering their earlier performances, especially in the first two races of this season. Ex-McLaren mechanic, Marc Priestley, discussed Verstappen's DNF during the Chequered Flag podcast. 

Priestley is primarily surprised that such a thing happened to Red Bull at all, considering their dominance. He believes this weekend was unusual in many ways. Ferrari benefited the most, with Carlos Sainz winning the race, while Charles Leclerc finished second.

"To see him disappear out of this race so early with a technical failure was really unusual,” said Priestley on the Chequered Flag podcast, as quoted by Planet F1!

“It was an unusual weekend and what that gave was opportunity to everybody else up and down the grid. Everyone suddenly saw – even way down towards the back – people saw the opportunity of points happening, so it’s opened up."

Priestley stresses that this race has shown that Red Bull still has certain weaknesses that other teams could exploit. Although everyone expected Red Bull to be unstoppable and for Verstappen to win again, things turned out quite differently. This will likely also have a mental impact on Red Bull, as they have realized they are not invincible. 

Priestley also highlighted Sergio Perez's poor performance, who had to settle for 4th place. Red Bull will have to carefully consider the problem that arose in Australia and work on fixing it. This race shouldn't particularly alarm the leaders of this team, who know there had to come a moment when this would happen. Horner and the drivers are optimistic about the upcoming races.

“What made a great Sunday, a great race, not just because Max Verstappen was out of it, this was a great race anyway and it was close racing, but I think this shows that there is a vulnerability to Red Bull Racing that we all thought there kind of wasn’t. We thought they were invincible. Well, they’re not.

What it does really highlight is the fact that if you’re Red Bull, and you haven’t got Max Verstappen, what have you got? Because Sergio wasn’t there in second place, which is where they really need him to be. So this has highlighted an even bigger problem perhaps for Red Bull Racing.”- he continued.

Sergio Perez didn't take advantage of his chance, although he could have done much more in this race. The Mexican obviously had problems that Christian Horner decided to talk about.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez© Dan Istitene / Getty Images Sport

Christian Horner, the team boss of Red Bull, elaborated that Perez's initial stint on hard tires showed promising pace as he closed in on Fernando Alonso. However, as Perez overtook Alonso, the tear-off stuck underneath the car's floor, causing a significant reduction in downforce.

This loss of downforce affected the car's handling, resulting in tire degradation and a decrease in performance towards the end of the race. This situation was unusual for Red Bull cars, and it explains Perez's challenges during the race.

Christian Horner reacts to Carlos Sainz's impressive performance

What surprised many was that Horner emphasized Carlos Sainz and his amazing performance at the Australian GP. After this season, Sainz will have to find luck elsewhere, and Red Bull stands out as one of the teams where Sainz could continue his career. 

Horner is impressed by the Spaniard's performance, aware of his talent, as Sainz was part of this team in the past, racing for Toro Rosso. 

The question is whether we will see Sainz again in the Red Bull team. Horner said that Sainz is an interesting driver they will consider for a seat in the next season. 

Horner doesn't want to rule out any options. The Red Bull team principal believes that the primary goal is to have the best pairing, with both drivers capable of competing at the top. Perez is unlikely to match Max's pace, and it's difficult for him to be competitive alongside such a brilliant driver. Horner wants Red Bull to become even better, although in this case, it's hard to see how they could improve further.

Max Verstappen's place in the team is also in question. Toto Wolff's recent statement that Verstappen is their first pick for next season has caused a lot of rumors. The Dutchman could potentially leave Red Bull and seek happiness elsewhere. 

It would probably be one of the strangest and most surprising decisions in the history of this sport, but perhaps Verstappen is eager for a new challenge, ready to make a success with another team. We'll see what happens.

Red Bull