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.
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 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. “