Mercedes’ James Allison claims Red Bull’s upgrade ‘looks like a downgrade’

Mercedes' James Allison believes F1 rivals Red Bull may have taken a step backwards with a recent upgrade.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Mercedes F1 technical director James Allison has suggested Red Bull’s recent struggles may be the result of an upgrade package that has not worked.

After making a dominant start to the season and winning four of the opening five races, Red Bull have been victorious just once in the last three events amid increasing pressure from nearest rivals Ferrari and McLaren.

Having been beaten by Lando Norris in Miami, Max Verstappen returned to winning ways at Imola but had to withstand late pressure from the McLaren driver. Red Bull then suffered their worst weekend of the season in Monaco.

Verstappen could only finish sixth as the team battled ride problems, opening the door for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to claim a maiden victory in Monaco and reduce the Dutchman’s championship lead down to 31 points.

Allison reckons Red Bull's step backwards could be due to a recent car update delivering a “downgrade” in performance.

"My guess is that as soon as there's a decent range of cornering speeds, they will be useful again," Allison told media including ESPN in Montreal.

James Allison (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Technical Director in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7,
James Allison (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Technical Director in the FIA Press…

"But it does look as if their upgrade was a downgrade, so fingers crossed that will really f*** them up.

"That makes life hard because the moment you stop trusting your tools, you back track and you start losing time. And time is your biggest friend and losing it is your worst enemy.”

Asked if seeing the championship leaders struggle excited Mercedes, Allison responded: “Everyone always loves other people's misery in this game.”

Mercedes introduced a new front wing design in Monaco and have followed that up with further updates in Montreal this weekend as they look to improve the W15’s fluctuating performance across high and low-speed corners.

George Russell posted the second-fastest time when the track was at its driest during FP2 on Friday, while Lewis Hamilton took fourth in a deluge-hit opening practice. 

"Where we are now seems to be better than where we were two races ago,” Allison added. Hopefully it will be somewhat better in a couple of races from now.

"We've gone from being really embarrassingly crap or not good enough in the beginning of the year, to being near the fight.

"A little bit more will get us right in the melee."

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