Indietro guardando, già segnali di problemi di frenata

( – “Normally, our car enjoys faster corners, so we hope to show that again this weekend,” explains Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen, confidently, before the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.

After not seeing the checkered flag at the last race in Australia due to a rear brake issue, the Dutchman hopes to bounce back in Japan and secure his third consecutive victory in Suzuka.

He triumphed at the Honda home race in both 2022 and 2023, and two years ago he even secured his second title there. The setback at the last race in Australia doesn’t worry him for two reasons.

First, he points out, “If you look at the performance in Melbourne, we were fast.” Verstappen had put the Red Bull on pole on Saturday. The retirement on Sunday was “not ideal,” but the pace was there.

Additionally, when asked if he was concerned that the problem that led to his retirement at Albert Park two weeks ago could recur in Japan this weekend, Verstappen simply replies, “No.”

To recap, shortly after the start of the race, the right rear brake on the Red Bull got stuck, forcing the Dutchman to eventually park the car. Red Bull did not provide an official explanation for how this happened.

Verstappen now reveals, “We saw some signs on Saturday where maybe things weren’t as they should have been. Of course, in hindsight, it was the brake caliper.”

But at the time, they didn’t know, and even after his retirement, no fault was found on the car itself. Verstappen hints that perhaps a mechanic made a mistake.

“The processes are being slightly changed to ensure that this does not happen again,” says the champion, emphasizing that he doesn’t blame his team. “We will just move on and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again.”

“But normally, it should not happen again,” the champion emphasizes. However, the question of whether Verstappen would have won the race in Melbourne without the defect remains open.

While he believes he had a good chance, Sergio Perez said in Melbourne that neither he nor his teammate would have seen the checkered flag first.

Later, it was revealed that Perez in Albert Park was hampered by a detached visor that had become entangled on his floor. He maintains his stance, saying, “I wouldn’t have won the race even without the damage.”

“At Max, it is difficult to say, but we were not able to control the graining as well as we would have liked,” he explains. This was the main reason why Ferrari had the upper hand in Melbourne.

Both Ferrari and McLaren were strong in this aspect, according to Perez, who adds, “I believe they were overall stronger than us in Melbourne. But there were things we did wrong in Melbourne, and we have learned from it.”

For Red Bull, this was not a new issue, as they also struggled with graining in Las Vegas in 2023, Perez notes. “I think it is important that we learn from what happened in Melbourne,” he clarifies.

“There were things under our control, with the setup, with the tires. We suspect that maybe that wasn’t the right way to control the graining,” Perez adds, mentioning that it shouldn’t be a major concern in Japan due to the track’s characteristics.

Therefore, there is little against another Suzuka victory for the Bulls this weekend.