Former Formula 1 driver Christian Klien has praised Red Bull’s start to the season, but questioned how much of their advantage has come from the RB19 car. The reigning World Champions currently have a maximum three wins from three races so far this season, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez showing ominous race pace in all events so far. But does the former Red Bull driver believe his old team can be caught this season? “I don’t think so, they have such a big margin at the moment,” Klien replies. “They have less time in the wind tunnel, but that just means whatever they want to test in the wind tunnel they really have to decide ‘should we do that or not?'” The Austrian believes that their car advantage somewhat negates the cost cap penalty hanging over them: “If they pick the right updates, maybe the penalty doesn’t even hurt very much. They have quite a big advantage right now, so I don’t think it will hurt them too much.” “When they got the penalty, of course nobody knew what step Red Bull would make in the winter. The penalty is still significant, and they will feel it, but because they have such a big lead, they have the margin to hold onto the lead.” Aston Martin Which team, then, is capable of turning the tide and making things difficult for Red Bull? Klien says that he would put his money on Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin team. “Ferrari has good pace, but somehow they always manage to ruin it for various reasons,” he laughs. “With Fred Vasseur, they have a good person in charge now. He is a true racer who’s not shy in speaking about problems. He could be the man who gets Ferrari under control, but that will take time.” “Mercedes should never be underestimated,” he continued. “And let’s see what Aston Martin will do. They can only get better, they’re going to move into their new F1 factory soon, where they have all the tools that they need. They still have more wind tunnel time than the others in the coming months, so they are on the right track.” Klien adds that it won’t be an easy task to bridge the gap to Red Bull: “With Fernando Alonso they have a very motivated driver in house and Aston Martin is therefore in my opinion the number two team. Whether they can catch up with Red Bull, I don’t know, because the margin is still very big.” Red Bull and Verstappen perfect The Azerbaijan Grand Prix often provides an opportunity for chaos and unusual results. However, the 40-year-old thinks that Red Bull are well-equipped to handle any madness. “In terms of strategy Red Bull is always spot on. Baku can be a bit crazy, but last year we saw, even when Ferrari was so close, that Red Bull strategy-wise is so dominant. At the moment, they tick every box.” But Klien feels that on paper Red Bull is not as dominant as other teams have been in the past. He suspects that the reigning World Champion might be making things appear more dominant. “Red Bull seems to be driving so far ahead of the rest, it’s almost boring! But look what happened from 2014 to 2020, Mercedes was so dominant, more so than Red Bull is now. Especially in qualifying, the differences are not very big. They just have a very good race car and they have very good tyre management, and they have the strategy under control.” “And then there is Max Verstappen. If Red Bull only had Perez on the team, they probably wouldn’t have been as dominant, or maybe not dominant at all. A lot of the dominance is because of Verstappen. He is more mature, doesn’t make as many mistake, is calmer in the races and “reads” the races very well. He is the best driver there is at the moment, who has a good car under him.”

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