Red Bull will not treat Max Verstappen’s home race any differently because the hopes of the event will not distract from work on the track.
The Zandvoort event returned to Formula 1 last year for the first time since 1985, with Verstappen taking a commanding victory from Pole. He won the world championship at the end of the season, at which point tickets for this year’s Dutch Grand Prix were sold out.
Team principal Christian Horner explained how Red Bull will manage their return to Zandvoort, stating that most spectators want and expect another Verstappen victory.
“Obviously he’s going to have a lot of respect for Max, he’s number one on the car when he’s back there as world champion,” Horner said. We saw the atmosphere last year and I think it’s definitely up again this year.
Verstappen’s dominance at last year’s event and now 98 points clear of the top Red Bull driver doesn’t mean Verstappen will take it any easier than usual this weekend, Horner said.
“You have to keep pushing because if you don’t, you start making mistakes. So we’ll approach Zandvoort like we’ve done every grand prix so far this year.
There are no extra activities for Max compared to a regular Great Race weekend. Of course, there’s going to be a lot of scary noise around the circuit, but we try to keep it in a bubble, clearly within the group, and manage expectations.
Verstappen’s back-to-back Dutch GP wins, and his quest for the first four consecutive victories of his career, will still depend on the Red Bull RB18’s tight sweep and banking around Zandvoort and the FIA’s technical manual. To reduce the negative effects of Red Bull more than previous events.
“Zandvoort is probably going to be a big challenge for the new guidelines because it’s a patchwork, there’s a lot going on there,” Horner said. It’s likely to be more similar in layout to Budapest, so Ferrari and potentially Mercedes could be back in contention there. It’s a different kind of challenge.”
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