Mercedes’ Allison: Red Bull upgrade looks like a ‘downgrade’

Red Bull’s upgrade introduced in Imola looks like it “was a downgrade” that could cost it a lot of time, according to Mercedes’ technical director James Allison.

Ferrari and Red Bull both brought new components to the first race of the European season, following a major update from McLaren that propelled it into the fight for wins from Miami onwards. While Max Verstappen won in Imola, he was under severe pressure from Lando Norris and was then limited to sixth place in Monaco, and Allison still believes the car has strengths but has not been developed as effectively as its rivals.

“My guess is that as soon as there’s a decent range of cornering speeds, they will be useful again,” Allison said. “But it does look as if their upgrade was a downgrade, so fingers crossed that will really [screw] them up!


“That makes life hard because the moment you stop trusting your tools, you backtrack and you start losing time. Time is your biggest friend and losing it is your worst enemy … Everyone always loves other people’s misery in this game!”

Alongside the added motivation of seeing Red Bull remain within closer reach for Mercedes, Allison says the past few rounds have shown signs of the team getting itself into a position where it could soon be battling for victories itself.

“I have to confess, I’m not really thinking of it in big picture terms, I’m just thinking where we are now appears to be somewhat better than where we were two races ago,” he said. “Hopefully it will be somewhat better in a couple of races from now.

“We’ve gone from being really embarrassingly crap or not good enough in the beginning of the year, to being near the fight. A little bit more will get us right in the melee and that’s really the only terms I think in.”

Allison explains those gains have come from addressing a weakness that emerged after improvements in low speed corners this season:

“I think we’re in the right ballpark [with ride height]. I would say the thing that has most bedeviled us this year is the high-speed understeer. We didn’t get a car balance to match the downforce we have found lower down, and that’s where we have been healing up a little lately.”

Story originally appeared on Racer