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Marko pledges immediate fightback with new upgrades

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Red Bull motorsports consultant Dr Helmut Marko has pledged that the team will respond to its unexpected defeat in last week's Miami Grand Prix, and is planning to bring new parts to the next race in Imola.

Max Verstappen headed into Miami full of confidence that he would rattle off his fifth win of the season, only to have to settle for the runners-up spot after being beaten by McLaren's Lando Norris.

Although Verstappen had already missed out on one race this season when a brake fire forced him to retire in Australia, this was the first time he had still been on track at the finish but failed to win since Singapore last year.

It's raised hopes that the season might not be as one-sided as it looked like being, with Red Bull distracted by the exit of Adrian Newey and fallout from the ongoing allegations against team principal Christian Horner.

But Marko was in appropriately bullish form after the weekend and insisted that the team had big plans to bounce back and reassert its control over this year's championship.

"I'm not worried, because Norris is more than 50 points behind [Max]," Marko told oe24. "But Miami shows that we need to concentrate on the sporting side of things.

"We were just too slow," he acknowledged when asked about Red Bull's dip in pace. "Max believes it wasn't that serious [but] the fact is that we were slower than McLaren."

There were extenuating circumstances for Red Bull's relatively sub-par performance in Miami. Norris benefited hugely from the timing of a safety car, while floor damage cost Verstappen over two tenths per lap after the restart.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
06.04.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying Day.
 -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Norris would have had a hard time closing the gap behind Max [without the safety car]," insisted Marko. "And overtaking in Miami is also very difficult."

Red Bull have already moved on from that disappointment and are busy making steps for the future. "We are bringing an upgrade to Imola, which I expect a lot from," Marko stated.

The concern for the team is that Verstappen's auro of invincibility has taken a hit, while at the same time Norris has been given a huge boost in confidence knowing that he has the potential to win races.

"Now it is to be feared that Lando will become even more dangerous for him on the track because the pressure is off now."

Norris' victory came on his 110th outing in F1 since his debut with McLaren in the 2019 Australian Grand Prix. Despite 15 podiums, he'd been attacked on social media as 'Lando No Wins' for not taking that final step up.

That finally happened last Sunday, and now Norris and his team hope to make it a winning habit for the rest of the year - which is very much not what his rivals at Red Bull and Ferrari want to see.

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