Red Bull is planning to introduce a major upgrade to the RB19 in time for the 2023 F1 Azerbaijan GP, as per a report by the German outlet Auto Motor und Sport (AMuS).

The RB19 has already been earmarked as the pace setter on the grid after Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez sealed the team’s first one-two finish in Sakhir during the season opener earlier this month.

Fernando Alonso claimed P3 for Aston Martin but the Spaniard crossed the line 38 seconds behind Verstappen. However, the Dutchman played down the talk of dominance, claiming other teams will be closer to them from circuit to circuit.

According to AMuS, Red Bull already have some tricks up their sleeves and could be bringing a small upgrade for the third race of the season in Melbourne.

The team is expected to follow this up with a substantial package upgrade for the fourth race weekend in Baku, which will also be the first of six Sprint races of the season.

This will be music to the ears of Verstappen and Perez but not for the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, who are still trying to figure out ways to keep up with Red Bull on and off the track.

Red Bull’s superior control over tire degradation at a venue like Bahrain, which eats away at rubber, showed just how far ahead they are of Ferrari, who continue to struggle with reliability issues and high tire wear.

Mercedes have admitted that their car concept is not producing the results they expected and are looking to pivot but haven’t decided on the developmental direction they want to take.

It may be early days in the 2023 F1 season but all signs point to a possible third world title for Max Verstappen and more success for Red Bull under the guidance of team principal Christian Horner and CTO Adrian Newey.

Max Verstappen asked to slow down 0.7 seconds per lap by Red Bull engineer during dominant Bahrain win

Max Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase has revealed that he was frustrated with the Dutchman despite his dominant win in the 2023 F1 season-opening Bahrain GP.

The RB19’s supreme control over tire degradation allowed the reigning world champion to open up an insurmountable gap to the rest of the pack after his first stint on soft tires, making the rest of the race a formality for him.

Although Verstappen appeared to be in cruise control, his race engineer was in no mood to take any chances. He issued orders for the driver to slow down by as much as 0.7 seconds per lap just to ensure the car crossed the finish line.

During the race, Lambiase was heard saying on the radio:

“Max, so you’re looking for plus 0.7 on the dash, I’ll get bored of this so just do it please.”

Following the race, Verstappen clarified the situation concerning the order. He said in an interview with ViaPlay:

“After that first stint, I just drove home. Of course, I had a big gap right away and after that, we didn’t really need to push anymore. Every time I wanted to push a bit, GP (Gianpiero Lambiase) – my engineer – got angry, so of course that says enough about the race. Of course, I’m very happy, it’s obviously a top start to the season and a very different start to last year.”

Gianpiero Lambiase’s move could have been to ensure Max Verstappen did not suffer a DNF in the race as he did in 2022. However, the fact that the Red Bull driver slowed down and still managed to maintain a mammoth gap over the rest of the field could be an ominous sign for the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes this season.