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Marko: No point [Ferrari] has most powerful engine if it’s not reliable

Formel_1_Leclerc_Ferrari_dnf Marko: No point [Ferrari] has most powerful engine if it's not reliable

Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko took a swipe at Ferrari’s so-called ‘most powerful engine after Charles Leclerc suffered a failure during the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Granted Ferrari did play down reports of impressive power gains over the winter but still showed in testing tat the prancing horse-badged PU was quick.

In the wake of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez cruising to a one-two in Bahrain, speaking to Motorsport.it Marko acknowledged the top speed of their rivals before rubbing salt in Tifosi wounds: “Ferrari has the more powerful engine, but what’s the point of having the more powerful engine if isn’t it reliable? But yes, the top speed is what it is and we have to deal with that.”

Meanwhile, that deficit was erased by the superb chassis the Red Bull RB19 proved to be out of the box. The handicap of slow starting seasons a thing of the past for the Bulls as Adrian Newey and his design have delivered a worthy successor to last year’s all-conquering RB18 beast.

So much so that most in F1-land are already handing them the 2023 championship title already, such was the visible margin of superiority on Sunday in Bahrain.

Neither Mercedes nor Ferrari proved worthy challengers but Aston Martin did emerge as a potentially destabilizing force with Fernando Alonso, in particular, the only speck in RBR mirrors.

Dr Helmut: I’m not surprised at the gap we have on them

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Who can challenge Max and Checo this season? Marko ventured: “Who will be our rivals this year? After one race it’s hard to say, there are many rivals. I also think Mercedes will improve over the course of the season.

“I’m not surprised at the gap we have on them, if you look at our long runs already during testing, well, it seemed obvious. But, if Leclerc had stayed in the race, however, maybe the gap would have been different,” conceded the Austrian.

Whatever the case, that gap was huge as winner Verstappen crossed the line, after cruising beyond the final pitstops, with Alonso 38 seconds adrift in third, the sole surviving Ferrari of Carlos Sainz further ten seconds back, and first of the Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton crossing the finish line 50 seconds after the #1 car had sealed the deal.

Marko explained the advantage they enjoyed on the night: “Our tyre management made the difference in Bahrain. All thanks to our chassis and the great work by our drivers.

“But in Bahrain, there is a very special asphalt and this doesn’t mean that we will be able to do what we did for the rest of the season. We will have to work hard to keep this lead, win as many races as we can, and win titles.

“Going back to the chassis, we saw that we have a very high potential. Yet it was possible to see big changes in behavior between the tests and the race regarding the balance, without having brought any new features. We don’t know why all this happened on Friday, we still have to understand why and it happened to other riders too, but what happened to us was clear,” revealed Marko.

Heading to Round 2 in Saudi Arabia next weekend, its a very different story to last year for the Bulls who were on the back foot with two DNFs after the 2022 F1 opener, watching Ferrari celebrate a one-two that evening. However, this year they leave Bahrain on a high with their own impressive double in the bag. What a recovery!

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