JUNE 20, 2024

Verstappen tests at Imola before Spanish GP

Max Verstappen has made a quick stop at Imola in preparation for this weekend's Spanish GP.

Max Verstappen, Canadian GP 2024
© Red Bull

With Red Bull's rivals closing in, the team put its triple world champion and 2024 championship leader in a 2022 car during a private test session, according to Italy's Autosprint.

At the end of the session, read the report, the Dutch champion left by helicopter to go and catch his plane to Barcelona.

With Red Bull's F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko admitting that the team is having simulator-to-track correlation problems, it may have been a timely session.

Sister team RB is heading to Barcelona with a major car upgrade, while Auto Motor und Sport believes Mercedes will unpack a new floor this weekend.

Ferrari has also fast-forwarded a scheduled upgrade in time for the Spanish GP, while McLaren boss Andrea Stella says the Woking based team has a few new things in the luggage for the Barcelona-Austria-Silverstone triple-header.

Less is known about Red Bull's upgrade plans for Barcelona, but former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher thinks the world champions should be ahead of the field on that type of circuit.

The best car will win in Barcelona, he told Sky Deutschland. Ferrari will have problems with tyre wear so I think Verstappen will have a significant advantage.

Schumacher says McLaren has an outside shot of success thanks to the all-rounded 2024 car, adding that he thinks a very competitive outing for Mercedes is not likely in Spain.

Marko told Osterreich newspaper: "We have the best package with the best driver. Whether we have the best chassis remains to be seen.

"Last year, Mercedes was strong in Barcelona, but that was just a flash in the pan. If we are ahead, then hopefully we will also be strong in Austria and then a week later in Silverstone too.

These three races will say a lot about the true balance of power, the Austrian added. That is why our people are working to the limit these days.