Max Verstappen says Red Bull’s premature end to pre-season testing in Barcelona was due to the team having a lack of spare parts after Pierre Gasly’s heavy crash.
Gasly lost control at Turn 9 on Thursday afternoon and spun into the barrier at high speed, severely damaging the rear of the car. The incident ended running on the penultimate day, and although Verstappen was able to hit the track just 40 minutes into Friday, a gearbox issue meant he completed just 29 laps in total.
“We did (change the gearbox), but you’re always limited with parts you have in testing,” Verstappen said. “When you already have two which are destroyed, it won’t be ideal. When you run out of parts…
“Still, the team did an amazing job to turn the car around last night. A lot of parts were flown in and the team was working really hard to get the car ready and only half an hour into the session, we were out again. So a big thanks to them.
“Hopefully it will not hurt us too much that we didn’t run a lot today. But I’m quite confident we can have a good start to the season.”
Far from being frustrated by the lack of running on the final day, Verstappen says he is optimistic Red Bull can get close to Ferrari and Mercedes, at least in race trim.
“If we look to the longer runs, it looks all pretty promising, so yeah, I’m looking forward to starting racing now,” he said. “I think we have a pretty good package, and also the engine seems to work really well. So I’m really happy about that.
“It’s always difficult to say if we haven’t done a run like (Ferrari and Mercedes) did. I’m not too worried about it. They are very quick, but I’m happy with what we’ve done so far. The long-run pace we had was very promising, but Melbourne is a different track again, different temperatures, so it’ll be about finding a good setup. Melbourne is the first race — it’s still a long season.”