Red Bull’s Max Verstappen reckons the impending plan to ban powerful Formula 1 qualifying engine modes is a “good” move for the sport.

F1 teams have been informed by the FIA that a new technical directive will be issued ahead of this month’s Belgian Grand Prix that is set to restrict teams from using special high-performance engine settings in qualifying.

With teams set to be forced to run the same ICE settings in qualifying and the race, the move is expected to reduce the advantage the Mercedes-powered teams currently boast in qualifying.

Red Bull believes its deficit to Mercedes over one lap in qualifying is one of the main reasons it has been unable to challenge the championship-winning outfit this year.

“I guess we will see what happens with that,” Verstappen said of the planned changes during Thursday’s press conference ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“I think in a way maybe it’s good as we are not really allowed to touch the car after qualifying, except those kind of things, engine modes, so probably if you want to go down that route anyway by not touching the car I think it’s good you maybe get rid of that as well.”

Asked where he feels Red Bull is losing out the most to Mercedes in qualifying, Verstappen replied: “I think every weekend has been a bit different.

“Sometimes it’s a bit more top speed, where then we are maybe a bit more competitive in corners compared to some other tracks. Even between Silverstone in the two weeks it was different.

“It’s difficult to say because also you run different kind of downforce levels between the teams as well. In qualifying they have quite a strong qualifying mode but from our side we know we can do better on the car side and we know we need a bit more power so we need to focus on that.”

Verstappen is looking to make it two wins on the bounce following his victory last time out at Silverstone, which saw him jump ahead of Valtteri Bottas into second place in the championship, 30 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

But the Dutchman is remaining grounded about suggestions he has put himself firmly in the picture as a title contender for this year’s world championship.

“For me it’s still pretty much the same as even before the race last week,” he explained.

“I think we still need to find pace, we still need to improve, both qualifying and the race, but especially in qualifying. Nothing really changed.

“It was just maybe a bit of an odd weekend last weekend where we ran softer compounds which definitely worked for us and not for Mercedes.

“Luckily it’s warm here, that’s always good, but we run quite hard compounds. I don’t know. I am of course happy where I am in the championship but it can always be better right?

“There’s still one more spot to go and we still need to find pace in our package.”

 

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