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Verstappen: Red Bull still needs to improve on F1 street circuits and kerbs

World champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s technical director, Pierre Wache, are clear where Formula 1’s current dominant team needs to improve for 2024: on low-speed corners and kerbs.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The RB19’s only defeat in the 2023 season came at a venue where those two elements combined with Red Bull making mistakes on its efforts to adjust its ride height settings among its typical event set-up work, which contributed to Carlos Sainz’s win for Ferrari in Singapore.

Speaking to Autosport in an exclusive interview, Verstappen said for his team “it helps if we know what direction we are working in” when discussing the “not ideal” impact of Red Bull’s reduced development time for most of 2023 as a result of its penalty for breaching the 2021 cost cap.

When asked where Red Bull is therefore concentrating its efforts in refining and improving the RB19 – statistically F1’s most dominant car ever – Verstappen replied: “Mainly I think just street circuits and low-speed, kerbing.

“These kind of things, I think we are not the best at the moment.”

Autosport then put these comments to Wache at the 2023 season finale in Abu Dhabi, where the Frenchman confirmed Verstappen’s assessment.

But he also suggested Red Bull would have to be careful not to sacrifice the RB19’s best qualities when it came to trying to address those few areas where the team felt it did struggle this year.

“The team sees that same weakness, maybe in a different perspective than Max because Max is [a driver], but it’s more or less summarised quite well where we have to work for next year,” said Wache.

Pierre Wache, Race Engineer, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Pierre Wache, Race Engineer, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

“Low-speed is clearly [one area]. 90-degree corners we are not the best, as you could see in quali in Baku and a different track [type there]. Singapore also was not a fantastic one.

“And also, our capacity to ride the kerbs and the bumpy tracks is also not perfect and we have to improve this area.

“In our system and in this business, you never have nothing for free.

“You can improve the overall potential of something, but most of the time it’s also affecting some other aspect of the car.

“[So], we have to be very careful not to destroy what we built in terms of strengths.

“It’s what we are trying to do – improve our weaknesses without compromising too much the strengths we have.”

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