Max Verstappen and Red Bull have not got the start they would have wanted in the 2022 season. They already have two DNFs in three races this season which has dented Max Verstappen's chances to defend his title. After replacing its Honda engine with Powertrains’ engine, Red Bull have faced an awful lot of reliability issues. In terms of pace, the RB-18 is close to that of the Ferraris, but their power-unit durability has been an Achilles heel for them so far.
This has led to two DNFs already for them this season. In the first race of the season, the Bahrain GP, both Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had to retire their cars due to fuel pump issues. They made a comeback in Jeddah though, with Verstappen finishing at pole position. However, in last week’s Australian GP, the Dutch driver had to retire his car yet again even after not being at fault himself.
This persistent issue with his vehicle has left the 2021 champion frustrated and he is already counting himself out of the championship race. Verstappen admitted that he won't be able to defend his title even if he is given 45 more races. "The car just isn’t good enough," he said. "Not if you look at the reliability and not if you look at the balance."
"Obviously it’s a long season with 20 races to go, but at the moment I think I’d need 45 to have another chance, I’m too far behind in the championship. 46 points. We need to get faster, and we need to get more reliable. I’m not thinking about the championship," added Verstappen.
We have a lot of work to do: Verstappen
The Dutch driver further talked about the issue Red Bull is facing and also said that this surprises him a lot. "It does surprise me, that we are not on the right track," he added. Verstappen looked clueless about a solution to the problem as he said "It doesn’t look like there’s a clear-cut solution to it either, so we have a lot of work to do."