Red Bull Racing’s motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, has revealed that the team’s 2023 challenger, the RB19, has been developed to suit both drivers, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen. The Milton Keynes-based squad is looking to build on its 2022 campaign, where its RB18 had phases where either one or the other driver was happier.
Last year, Perez preferred the car’s understeery characteristics, while Verstappen loved the strong front end. However, as the team reduced the car’s weight and improved its front end, Verstappen became happier with the car.
Despite the drivers’ differing preferences, Marko says that the indications from pre-season testing are that the RB19 can run in a way that both drivers are content. Speaking to Sky Germany, Marko said, “We seem to have found a solution that allows both drivers to show their qualities.”
During the Bahrain test, Perez confirmed that the direction both he and Verstappen preferred for the RB19 were the same. He said, “I think we are aiming for the same things. We want the same things, so at the moment, it’s a good base.”
Verstappen, who is known for being able to cope with a nervous rear end, says that Red Bull has never deliberately engineered cars in his direction. Instead, he has learned to adapt to what he is given. Speaking in Bahrain, 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.”
Perez, on the other hand, says that his issue is not preferring an understeery car; rather, Verstappen is better able to cope with a nervous rear end. “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,” he said.
Red Bull will be hoping that the RB19’s development will give both drivers the platform to challenge for the championship in 2023.