Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Perez wants Red Bull to “run the cars slightly different” to help improve his performance

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez wants Red Bull to change how it runs their car in upcoming races so he can improve his performance.

He began his second season at the team strongly, scoring his first career pole position at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and winning the Monaco Grand Prix. However while team mate Max Verstappen has improved his performance and comfort in the car as the season has gone on, Perez has increasingly fallen back.

“Certainly the car has become quicker from the beginning of the season,” he said after yesterday’s race. “But certainly I’m not as comfortable as I was in the beginning of the season.”

Perez qualified almost eight-tenths of a second slower than Verstappen at Spa. Although his team mate was relegated to 14th on the grid by engine penalties, Perez was unable to beat him home after starting second, and finished 17.8 seconds adrift from Verstappen, who scored a dominant win.

Speaking after the race, Perez admitted his comfort in the car is “something that I need to work on, on my side, to make sure we are able to get the maximum out of the car.

“Sometimes… things become more natural for you to get the most out of your car. Sometimes you have to work really hard and go very deep in the analysis, to make sure you are able to extract the maximum. So, it seems that we are in that window at the moment.”

He believes the key to improving his comfort in the car is to change how the team sets it up at future races. “I really hope that from this weekend, we run the cars slightly different, so we are able to spot some differences that can come bring some performance on our side.”

However Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the difference in performance between his drivers last weekend was because “Max was quite simply in a league of his own.”

“He’s excelled here in the past and today he’s basically smashed it out of the park,” said Horner after yesterday’s race.

“He did a lap on medium [tyres] that still stood as the fastest lap, despite Charles [Leclerc] having a go at the end on a set of softs. He qualified on pole on two sets of soft tyres throughout the whole of qualifying and didn’t even do the last run. So it’s been a huge performance by him this weekend.”

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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
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34 comments on “Perez wants Red Bull to “run the cars slightly different” to help improve his performance”

  1. I mean, I’m sure some things could be done to make Perez a little more comfortable. But I don’t think you’d have much of a case against Horner’s point here. A bit of different set-up is not going to find Perez almost a second of lap pace more, we’re talking a couple tenths at best. That pace difference is mostly just Max being in full WDC form, I’d reckon.

    1. I guess the question is how far they can go with divergent setups between the cars @sjaakfoo, as I gather that is what Perez is asking for.

      Clearly the car works great for Max this way on their path to the championship and who knows many wins this year, so it would make no sense at all to change it for both.

    2. But if your Perez, is that the answer you want to hear? Would it have killed Horner to say, we’ll analyze things back at the factory and see if there are ways we can help Sergio improve?

  2. Depends on what he wants otherwise it’s his choice on the setup..

  3. Whichever driver feels most comfortable will naturally perform better. That’s true in every sport, but especially accentuated in F1 where the team can decide who to design and adapt their car for.
    Even if Perez isn’t as fast as Verstappen, being less comfortable in the car and its characteristics is only ever going to make him look worse.

    F1 is one of the few sporting series where you know with complete certainty before the season starts who will not be able to win it.
    It’s sad that it’s entirely expected and known that every championship-contending team does this, and will continue to do so until the rules outlaw it (ie, when F1 becomes a spec series).

    1. F1 already IS a spec series within each team.
      So I assume it’s no longer ‘sad’ your opinion.

      1. It’s certainly not completely spec within each team. They can use different wings, floors, mirrors, cooling packages, brakes,… A whole bunch of stuff. And there are setup options, which the team may or may not allow the driver to experiment with.
        Then there are the fundamental changes of the actual car design that can’t be altered per session or even per event… Weight balance, general aero balance, suspension geometry, ergonomics…

        It’s definitely sad from a driver’s perspective. The last thing I want is for my team to change my car (that I’m happy and comfortable with) to suit someone else, leaving me uncomfortable and unable to perform at my best. Not only does it not help me, it doesn’t really help the team overall either.
        Ultimately, only one driver from each team can ever be really happy with the car – and within Red Bull this year, that has intentionally been changed from Perez to Verstappen.

        1. I’m just flabbergasted by the inconsistency in your comments around developing a car for one driver.
          Fists you claim one driver has to accept the car developed and set up for the other driver, and you ‘wish’ if were a spec series. And then when I claim it is a ‘spec series’ within a team, you make a 180 and argue that almost everything can be changed (in which the car can suit both drivers to a very large extent).

          Also a team will always develop the car which is best for the team overall, which in almost all cases is suiting the fastest driver without making the other driver ‘useless’ (and if he is they’ll cut his contract short).

          1. Not inconsistent – you just don’t seem to understand.

            Most teams develop their cars primarily for one driver, especially so with in-season development. But that’s based on pre-season performance in the test car (who does that suit best?) and all the usual factors (who do they want it to suit best).
            And everything can be changed – that’s how development works…. But as I said, it can’t (realistically) all be changed from event to event, nor in a way that makes both drivers more comfortable. One will necessarily be forced to give up comfort and performance for the other.
            I’m trying to figure out where you got that I said it can suit both drivers, as I’ve never said that.

            The team choose a driver to develop for. Maybe they are the faster, but maybe not.
            Until they have two well-developed cars – one for each driver – they’ll always be making assumptions based on who is more comfortable.
            It’s well documented that Vertappen likes a pointy car while Perez has always preferred a more stable and predictable one. They haven’t yet developed a car around Perez to compare with.

        2. Coventry Climax
          29th August 2022, 18:56

          Not inconsistent – you just don’t seem to understand.

          Ah, the FIA argument.

    2. I think that if you put MV tomorrow in a Ferrari he still beats CS and CL. MV adapts very fast. Just look at his first GP win.

      1. His first win is a great example of luck + strategy + talent. It wasn’t all driver.
        He was exceedingly lucky that Mercedes self-destructed on the opening lap, and the team gave him a pretty favourable strategy over Ricciardo.
        Made for some pretty good media coverage, didn’t it…

        1. Coventry Climax
          29th August 2022, 19:07

          Luck, strategy and talent:
          With mercedes self-destructing in the opening lap, there were 18 cars left that all had the ‘chance’ to grab the victory.
          I do not call that luck, it was a very stupid mistake by the merc pair. Ferrari and Raikkonen however, did not manage to get the win, Verstappen and Red Bull did.
          Strategy for most teams (with the certain exception of Ferrari, as we witnessed at Spa this weekend) is determined in advance, with driver input as well. Some drivers are better at it then others, and some drivers make themselves being heard better than others.
          Talent = driver, nothing else. Or does the talent of the team’s cook count as well?
          It wasn’t all driver? Probably not, but it was much, much more driver than what you suggest.

          1. 18 cars, sure, but only a couple were realistically capable of winning on performance that day…
            From Red Bull’s perspective, of course it was luck – they had nothing to do with Mercs’ squabbling.
            And strategy? When presented with the opportunity of selecting Ricciardo or Verstappen, which would you pick, as a marketing team?
            Youngest F1 driver ever to win a race, or some other guy?

        2. lol@terming Max or “some other guy.”

          I would get pulling that strategy if MV qualified 3rd and DR was 8th or something.

      2. He was driving a ferrari engine just a race before swithing to Renault he adjusted fast how the engine worked BUT even beter He knew how Kimi would deploy his energydeployment and adjusted for that.

  4. I noticed Max rotating his car a lot better through the slower corners in Spa compared to Checo. I’d say they have made that RedBull tail happy and Checo doesn’t like it.
    Unfortunately for him and any other driver who has no confidence in a loose rear, is that they will nearly always be slower.

    1. Correct. They will make car more suitable to Max. Which will make Checo look slower.
      This happens with all the front running teams.

      1. It’s the logical thing to do if it makes for a faster race car. You just need the right driver to manage it.

        1. Is it really a faster race car if one of the drivers gets slower in it?

    2. It’s logical to favor Max yes, but I think the audience should now recognize how big a difference it can make to driver gaps when a car is suited to one person and not the other. We all know Max has way more talent than Perez, but when the car is actually working the way Perez wants it the gap is more like .0-.250 seconds with Perez getting the better of Max about 1 out of every 4-5 times.

    3. Exactly. that’s also why figherplanes nowdays kind of fly themselves. Humans are way to slow to handle the unstableness.
      The theoretical fastest car, wil also be relatively unstable.

  5. What horner said is spot on, I forgot that verstappen even went out of the car early on in q3 after setting that dominant lap time, and I had no idea he had done all quali sessions with 2 sets of tyres only.

    1. I Wonder why VER didn’t give PER a tow.
      Is it strategy to save tires or not risk crashing?
      I would say PER did help him out tremendously a couple of times. With a 80 point head start, I don’t see why he didn’t return a favour.
      Pretty sure he would have done that for RIC in the days.

  6. That’s how they operate. Nothing he can do about it.

  7. Max was on rails pretty much and I noticed Perez was sliding about in the race. No doubt Max was on another level, but at the start of the season Perez was able to get up to speed pretty fast in Free Practice.. Now it takes 3 sessions just to start to get an understanding of where the setup should be, so he’s clearly struggling to find the right setup.

  8. If the designers, engineers and lead driver say “this is the fastest version so far”. The second driver says ” wow, great and all but I felt happier in the slower car from before”. What will they do? Say “thanks Checo, we’re still assessing all the data”

  9. There is no chance Max can be more than a second faster in the same car without him having a car advantage. I suspect the new Honda engine is lighter and more powerful and allows better weight balance among other things; like a lighter chassis. I suspect the weight of Perez’s sack of gold might also be slowing him down. Would the other teams smell foul if they were both so much faster than everyone else?

  10. Perez’s car needs to be just fast enough to block LEC and SAI. Red Bull had him block LEC this weekend with a wonderfully timed maneuver.

  11. Perez driving style is slow, carlos the same. some drivers we just know are slow and they’ll never be quick unless the era of f1 suits them. The more downforce these cars create the more it suits drivers like max and charles

    1. Interesting, I found Leclerc just as fast and with a lot less mistakes than before the ground effects generation. So, not CL works as a good example.

  12. Actually max was slightly less competitive at the beginning of this year with perez alot closer to him. Until his father forced redbull to make changes to the car to suite max more. Then max’s performance picked up and p
    Perez’s dropped. And has continued because they continue to set the car towarss maxes style. So that idea that max can jump in any car ans drive it better goes out the window. he has specific requirements. He is no Alonso or lewis who both have proved they can drive any car thru any design or set. Exluding this year when lewis was trying out various extreme set ups to understand the car.

    1. Is your name Christian Horner? Who told you Jos Verstappen actually did that? This is one of the funniest comments I’ve read in my life. His father doesn’t have absolutely any say in what red bull does or doesnt. And every driver has their own set of engineers so that they can ask for the setup that best suits them. And every driver has specific requirements dude. “he is no alonso or lewis” hahahaha these people. It’s all the way around, lewis hasnt proved anything with this design…the guy has had contact or spun in more than 3 races. Max hasnt even touched someone this season and has won more than anyone in the new design. Please step aside, there’s a new GOAT in town.

      1. Max has spun… Lol. And factually alonso amd lewis including vettel to a degree have all competed in different eras of f1 over the years. And you should jnow the redbull car took a significant different route in setup/ design philosophy after 1 of the races this year to favour max more. Which also coincided with perez form dropping. It’s fact. Lets be objective please. Amd while Jos does not have direct influence he does have somewhat indirect influence on Redbull. He criticised redbull after monaco also quite publicly…

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