Cars

Formula 1: Does Verstappen’s driving style still match the new cars?

Max Verstappen (24) is currently enjoying his first few weeks as world champion with girlfriend Kelly Piquet in Brazil. In contrast, his Red Bull team is already working at full speed on his new racing car. The specialty: in 2022, completely new cars with more weight and less grip will come. The question remains: Can the Dutch make the difference again with this?

Verstappen is considered to be the most aggressive driver in the field with a very special vehicle control. But new rules often also harbor the risk that a pilot can no longer play his strengths to the full. This is what happened to Sebastian Vettel when the hybrid engines were introduced in 2014. The Heppenheimer was able to make perfect use of the blown diffuser in the era of eight-cylinder engines.

Verstappen was also a fan of last year’s models. “I like the current cars in terms of speed because it’s really impressive how much grip you have,” he said in a sponsor interview, adding: “So the new cars will definitely be a few seconds slower.”

But that is intentional. The new aerodynamic rules should enable the racing cars to drive closer to each other and fight with each other. That costs a few points of downforce and therefore grip.

Verstappen is considered to be the most aggressive driver in the field with a very special vehicle control.

Verstappen continues: “The tires will also look completely different with 18-inch rims – their reaction is also different, I have to adjust my driving behavior accordingly.” The newly crowned world champion has already driven the new cars in the simulator and the tires in the post-season test in Abu Dhabi. “It feels a bit sharper, the reaction of the tires and the general traction you get out of the corners,” he reveals.

Rapid adaptation to the new racing cars is correspondingly important. However, this does not cause the Dutchman to worry. “Everyone always asks, ‘How is your driving style?’” He says. “Well, I don’t think I have one. You just adapt to the situation. This is your driving style because when the car is understeer you have to adapt to the understeer. And if the car is oversteered, you have to be prepared for it. So I think adjustment at the end of the day is key. “

Even at Red Bull, there is no concern that the champion could run into problems with less grip. “Max can drive a car that is relatively unstable in the rear,” explains Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko at Sport1. “For him, the car has to be as fast as possible and not comfortable.”
Marko also believes Red Bull will be among the top under the new rules. “We think that we are at eye level with Mercedes up front – unless someone finds a loophole like the double diffuser back then.”
And then there’s the Verstappen factor. “Max has so much natural talent that it is easier for him than other drivers to drive to the limit,” explains team boss Christian Horner. “He’s not under pressure when he goes full throttle, so he can still see what’s going on with the race, the car and the opponents. That is very rare. Lewis has this ability, Max too, and Sebastian (Vettel; d. Ed.) Also had it when he won his title. ”
After his first World Cup, the German won three more World Cup trophies with Red Bull. Good prospects for Max Verstappen.

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