Is Red Bull chaos to blame for Verstappen’s brake meltdown?

Max Verstappen’s unexpected withdrawal from the Melbourne race, marking his first technical Did Not Finish (DNF) in two full years due to a brake malfunction and subsequent fire, has fueled widespread speculation and intrigue. This incident, involving a stuck rear brake, has led to intense scrutiny over the reliability of components supplied by Brembo, a premier Formula 1 brake provider. Brembo, however, has refuted claims of a component failure, suggesting instead that the issue likely stemmed from the setup of the car.

The problem with Verstappen’s brakes has drawn comparisons to Charles Leclerc’s difficulties in Bahrain, where his Brembo-equipped Ferrari also experienced brake issues. This has coincided with rumors that Red Bull opted to switch its brake supplier to Brembo from Carbon Industrie during the off-season.

Amidst this technical controversy, Red Bull F1’s consultant, Dr. Helmut Marko, conveyed to Speed Week the team’s ongoing efforts to diagnose the exact cause of Verstappen’s brake defect. Marko noted the challenge in pinpointing the problem, given the team’s dispersed state following the Melbourne event.

Speculation abounds that this mechanical failure might be linked to current internal discord within Red Bull, including a saga involving team principal Christian Horner and a power struggle within the management. Former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde weighed in on the situation during the DRS De Race Show podcast, suggesting two potential causes: a mechanical fault or a lapse in maintenance, adding, “It’s certainly strange that this happened right now at Red Bull. I’m not saying it’s sabotage – certainly not. But when there are internal messes in a team like that, people can make mistakes. We haven’t seen it in two years. It was such a well-oiled machine. Everything ran so perfectly. So does this have something to do with what’s going on at the top?” van der Garde posited, reflecting on the impeccable operation of Red Bull prior to this incident and questioning if the recent troubles at the team’s helm could have contributed to the malfunction.


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