Red Bull Taskmaster Starts the Mind Games With “Restless” Mercedes & Ferrari Amid a Fading Hope: “Still Have Their Problems”

Published 02/24/2023, 7:15 AM EST

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via Reuters

We’re not sure if you’re feeling something being cooked, but we for sure are feeling the heat as the 2023 F1 season is officially underway. The cars roared together for the first time this year, and it couldn’t have sounded better. Red Bull topped the charts in both timing and the number of laps completed, showing positive signs ahead of the first race, which also means the team has bragging rights after the first day of testing. And Helmut Marko, the time’s chief advisor, made sure to use them as slyly as possible.

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Red Bull is going into this season as the clear favorite, while Mercedes and Ferrari were left with a lot of homework to be done during the off-season. But Red Bull, in an attempt to stay clear of its competition, didn’t sit and watch. They rather planned to go up and up, meaning that Marko, after the day’s testing, was delighted with the car and the performance delivered by Max Verstappen.

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Marko used the car’s performance to praise his squad but also target the opposition with clever comments that are already heating up the bar. As quoted by Telegraaf.nl, he said, “Everything worked immediately well. We are still very happy. I think we are in better shape right now than last year around the same time.” [Translated using Google]

“Those are our competitors. It will be closer together this year. They both still have their problems, but with their experience I expect them to solve that. I am surprised that Ferrari’s car is still bouncing like that, we did not expect that. And the Mercedes looks a bit restless. Anyway: it is only the first test day.”

Ferrari and Mercedes will be under pressure during the rest of the testing, given that there’s only one such session this year, unlike last year’s two in Bahrain and Barcelona.

Red Bull has no time for sandbagging in Bahrain

During preseason testing, teams arm themselves with the clever technique of sandbagging. Most often, it is used as a tactic to throw the opposition off its game, and some use it to test the true ability of the cars.

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But this year, Marko believes there’s no time left for the teams to go with the practice due to the lack of time and the first race of the season is only a week away. Talking to F1 Insider, Marko said, “It is important that you already know at the first race a week later which car set-up you are going to start the weekend with – both in qualifying and in the race.”

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It is safe to say that the mind games will now become more intense during the Bahrain race weekend as even the off-season didn’t stop Marko from fiddling around with words. And if things are as bad as they look for Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull only has the reliability to worry about. 

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Written by:

Manan Goel

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Manan Goel is a Formula 1 author at EssentiallySports. As a literature student at Delhi University, he had been a geek for fiction and a nerd for sports. He claims Sebastian Vettel was his first love after seeing him at the Indian Grand Prix, and he has been a fan of the sport and Red Bull ever since.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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