RB targets F1 start improvements to issues that are «hurting» results

The team’s VCARB 01 F1 car is showing impressive speed in qualifying – with its two cars having got into Q3 at Imola last weekend – but its race chances are being hurt by poor getaways.

At the Imola Grand Prix, both Ricciardo and Tsunoda lost two places off the start – which were hard to recover from because of the difficulty of overtaking.

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Speaking about the situation, Ricciardo said: “The starts, they’re hurting us at the moment.

“Honestly, I don’t know yet what the issue was. I didn’t feel like I botched it, as I felt like everything was going okay from the procedure, but we have to have a look. It’s so sensitive.”

Tsunoda added: “It is kind of a topic for our team, we’re working hard. We are really working hard for the starts throughout the races so far. We have improved a little bit, but we need a step more, because I would say consistency is not there. So, we have to look for the future.”

The Japanese driver suggested there were a combination of factors that were coming together to make life difficult: “I thought it was tyre preparation, and we’ve done a lot of tyre preparation work, but it’s not enough. I think it’s coming from also consistency with the clutch.

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“Red Bull, having the same engine, they are able to have a consistent start. So, for sure there is something that we are missing or we have to improve.”

Team principal Laurent Mekies thinks that it is repeatability of the starts that needs improving, with the window for delivering the perfect getaway too narrow for its drivers to consistently hit it.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, Mekies said: “The start is not any more a single performance item. You have the clutch, the drivers have the procedures, there are the drivers themselves, you have the tyres — and I probably forget quite a few items.

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“It’s one of these things that is great in our sport, that we need to bring together many different departments to try to go to the next step, and that’s what we need to do.

“We have been a little bit inconsistent. We had very good start in Miami from high up in the grid against the big guys, but we have been a bit up and down this year.

“It’s like everything else in the car. We just need to do small steps altogether.”

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