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Red Bull finds RB19 F1 car solution that suits both Verstappen and Perez

Red Bull believes it has found a "solution" with its new RB19 Formula 1 car that suits both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

The Milton Keynes-based squad is coming off the back of a 2022 campaign where its RB18 had phases where either one or the other driver was happier.

At the start of the season, when the car suffered from understeer due to being overweight, those characteristics favoured Perez much more. But as the team reduced the car’s mass, that help make its front end better at turn-in, and that swung things firmly in the favour of Verstappen. 

With its drivers preferring different things from a car, there has been some intrigue about whether certain handling characteristics of the RB19 would suit one of them better.

But Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says the indications from pre-season testing are that its 2023 challenger can run in a way that both Perez and Verstappen are content.

Speaking to Sky Germany, Marko said: “We had a car last year that Checo did very well with in the beginning. And, after it was developed, Max has been more and more happy. 

“The difference is that Max loves a strong front end, really biting. Checo is a little different. He wants a more docile car.

“But we seem to have found a solution that allows both drivers to show their qualities.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Speaking on the final day of the Bahrain test, Perez confirmed that the direction he and Verstappen preferred for the RB19 was the same.

“I think we are aiming for the same things,” he said. “We want the same things so at the moment, it's a good base.”

Driving styles

While Verstappen is well known for being able to better cope with a nervous rear end, he is clear that Red Bull has never deliberately engineered cars in his direction.

Instead, he says the team has long had a history of producing cars with a strong front end, and it’s something he has simply learned to deal with.

“I don't think it has necessarily suited my driving style,” he said. “As a driver, you need to adapt to what you get, and that's also what I did when I joined Red Bull. 

“The car was always like that, to be honest. It had a good front end, and I've never experienced a fast car with understeer in my life, in any category. 

“I feel like if people ask me: what is your driving style? I cannot tell you, because I always adapt to what I get in the best way possible. Sometimes it is a bit harder than others. But I think that's the key: you need to adapt, every year and every track as well.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Speaking about his driving preferences in Bahrain last week, Perez said his issue was not preferring an understeery car but it was more that Verstappen was better able to cope with the rear end being more nervous.

“I'd say that there are very few drivers that like understeer,” he said. “I think there's not many drivers that like it.

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“And so, from my point of view, Max is able to cope with a less stable rear end than I am able to cope with.

“At the end of the day, we both want a good front end. It's just a question of how stable the rear end can be. And certainly Max has been able to cope with a looser rear end.”

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