The characteristics and setup of the Ferrari and Red Bull cars were noticeably different in the early stages of this F1 season. Red Bull has opted for a configuration with less downforce and drag, giving the RB18 an advantage at top speeds and in flat corners. The F1-75 has more downforce and drag, which makes the car excel in low/medium speed turns and acceleration. However, the difference between the two cars wasn’t that clear in Miami as Ferrari couldn’t match Red Bull.
The data shows that Red Bull was particularly quick through the chicane and onto the next section. Ultimately, that was crucial for Max Verstappen to keep Charles Leclerc at bay. Ferrari afterwards admitted not understanding why things had changed, especially as Red Bull also managed to maintain top speed. “So we drive with more downforce. As a result, we lack speed on the straights, but we usually get that difference back in the corners,” said Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto. “I think in Miami it was important to be faster in turns five, six and seven and that the difference wasn’t made in the slower turns 11, 12 and 13. Red Bull has done good business in that regard. They were very strong medium and were just as quick as us in the really slow corners. We need to find out what caused this. I think their upgrades made the car faster.”
Leclerc agrees with his team boss, noting that Red Bull is faster in the race, especially on soft tires. “Especially on the mediums and the softs they seem stronger in the last two races. They can manage their tires better,” said the World Cup leader. “In qualifying we managed to put the tires in the right position window but on the longer runs we have a harder time than them.”
According to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, there is so little difference between Ferrari and Red Bull that small details count even more. “That changes from track to track,” says the Briton. “We are very balanced. It’s just about bringing the race together as well as possible. Strategically, we did it very differently here in Miami than Ferrari. They had a lot of downforce and we had little. This set-up worked for us.” .”