Pierre Wache expands on the development process of the Red Bull RB18 and tries to explain why Max Verstappen may have found it better than Sergio Perez.
Perez is approaching the end of his second season alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull. He has been a great asset to the team who were struggling to find a suitable replacement after Daniel Ricciardo left the team and so much so was awarded with a contract up to the end of the 2024 season.
The 2022 F1 season has been a consistent run for him with seven podiums including an unforgettable win at Monaco but over the last while, the Mexican’s star has waned somewhat. While he has been very consistent and at one stage an outside challenger for the title, he has to an extent been a slight also ran over the last half a dozen Grands Prix or so.
He has been there at the sharp end off-late, but he really hasn’t been on the pace 100%. A lot has been discussed about him and his position, but technical director Wache suggested that there may be more than just one mitigating factor in the issues that Perez has been facing in recent times.
“I think it is multiple factors but the main factor is clearly the car balance and the confidence with a car, compared to the beginning of the year when the car was a little bit more balanced for him and a little bit less for Max”, said Wache to media. “And after the potential of development we put on the car during the season, move away from that, is maybe part of it”.
“And after, finding a right set-up for him, it is quite difficult, to put him as confident as he could be to beat, or to fight with Max,” summed up Wache. Two different drivers, two different cars in many ways. The issue also could be a speed differential sacrifice in getting a balanced car that Perez likes.
With it being two different cars, securing the right balance for both the drivers is always a challenge. “If I knew I will do it,” said Wache. “It’s every time difficult when you try to develop the car, theoretically, for the performance and after you’re stuck in terms of set-up tools to re-balance the car”.
“Then it means that you will have to go down a little bit on performance to, for sure, to achieve the right counterbalance, the desired one. I would say normally you will lose it a bit of performance to make it better. Doesn’t mean it’s a lot. But it is this type of direction, yeah,” summed up Wache.
This year, the Red Bull has become the dominant car on the grid. After a fairly sluggish and inconsistent start but of course as the season has gone on both drivers have gone from strength to strength. While the car was difficult in the first place, both drivers have adapted to it, Verstappen, quicker and better than Perez possibly.
As a team, no doubt bother Red Bull learned a lot about themselves over the last six months, they did have issues like other teams and had to resolve them. It would appear to an outsider that Verstappen got to grips quicker and better with the RB18 and naturally his results speak for themselves.
“It is clear that we learned a lot,” said Wache. “For sure when you have a big problem you learn more, because you have to fix it. But, it’s not like we didn’t have problems this year, you know. We are fighting with a quite a high level of competition. Ferrari are very quick, even quicker than us for the first part of the season, even the second part”.
“They had some issues in terms of reliability, but they are quick and they are still quick. Then we learn a lot. After, in terms of development of the car, it is more incidental. You know, when we develop the car, then you go for the best performance development, you know, it is suiting more Max, but it was not the purpose of the development. It was more developing the car,” summed up Wache.
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