Red Bull’s developments have left Perez less “comfortable” in car

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says he isn’t as comfortable driving his Red Bull as he was earlier in the year.

He made a strong start to his second season at Red Bull, taking the first pole position of his career in Saudi Arabia and a victory in Monaco. Perez said it had taken him much longer to get used to the first car he drove at the during the previous season.

“Last year’s car was a great car but it [required] a very unique driving style,” Perez told media including RaceFans yesterday. “You had to adapt to it.

“I managed to do so, but it took me a while. I came here with no testing and straight into it in regulations that had been there for a while. So that was hard. Starting from zero [this year], I think that that’s been quite helpful.”

But Perez admitted he hasn’t found it as easy to get the best out of the RB18 following recent changes to it.

“I think the development of the car has been… I haven’t been as comfortable with it as I was in the beginning, let’s put it that way. So I think I’ve got some work to do to understand what’s going on and hopefully have a more straightforward weekend here in Austria.”

However Perez acknowledged he wasn’t at full fitness during the previous race weekend, after hurting his neck when he crashed in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.

“It’s just going away from me in terms of how comfortable I was in the beginning,” he said. “But saying that I’ve had only two races, last weekend I wasn’t up to it, I was feeling pretty bad. So this is the first weekend where I will see, really.”

After dropping out of the Canadian round with technical problems, Perez said he can’t afford more retirements if he is to close on his championship-leading team mate Max Verstappen.

“Having another couple of zeros will kill the championship for sure,” he said. “But hopefully reliability issues are going now and we’re able to finish races. That’s the most important.”

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2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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9 comments on “Red Bull’s developments have left Perez less “comfortable” in car”

  1. Chris Horton
    8th July 2022, 9:21

    This was always going to happen unfortunately. Perez has nothing to prove anyway, his career trajectory didn’t put him in championship contention for far too long.

    One of the most under rated drivers ever in my opinion. As a lifelong Ferrari fan, I only wish he hadn’t left their driver academy to join McLaren.

  2. What a surprise that Red Bull would develop the car more for Verstappen’s driving style.
    No F1 team has ever developed their car primarily for only one of their drivers before….

    1. When one of your drivers wins six races and the other wins one, and it’s debatable that it wasn’t track characteristics giving him that win in the first place, then yeah, of course you develop the car based on the feedback of the better driver.

      1. The question that nobody can ever truly answer, is who is actually the ‘better’ driver?
        When the car is being developed away from your driving style and preferences, what chance do you ever have?

        1. It’s basic knowledge by now, F1 cars tend to be faster if they are pointy on the front axle – Mercedes 2020 proves and many cars before. The question is: Do you have a driver to handle it efficiently? RedBull has in form of Verstappen.

          1. McLaren don’t seem to get this.

        2. S Even if it were true that they are now developing the car toward Max and away from SP, which is debatable as they may just be trying to develop the car, Checo had every chance to stamp his authority over Max at the start of the season when everything was so new for everyone.

    2. I think it has more to do with the floor flexing trick rather than Verstappen driving style. RBR have found a way to replicate the rake set up thanks to their floor’s ability to flex more than the minimum 2mm limit allowed. As mentioned by Newey himself when the new rules were approved, rake set up doesn’t make any sense with the new ground effect cars since you want the car to be as close to the ground as possible.

      Since their floor is flexing, they have been able to run it higher and replicate the rake set up. This will normally result in the car becoming more pointy on the front with tendency to oversteer. Perez unlike Verstappen doesn’t like oversteer. The FIA clampdown on the floor flexing trick will come into effect in the French GP and RBR will eventually resume to a more conventional set up to comply with the rules.

  3. The teams were always going to tackle the inherent understeer of these cars eventually. Perez better adapts.

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