Verstappen says changes to “very overweight” Red Bull were key to his 2022 gains

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen says the changes Red Bull made to reduce the weight of their RB18 since the season began have made it a better fit for his driving style.

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In brief

Car’s weight loss key to improved handling – Verstappen

Max Verstappen says Red Bull have been able to make the RB18 handle more to his like by reducing the car’s weight since the season began.

The reigning world champion wasn’t as comfortable in his car as team mate Sergio Perez at the start of the season. But as the team has improved its car Verstappen has increasingly drawn clear of his team mate and stamped his authority on the world championship, winning the last five races in a row.

Verstappen says the weight savings Red Bull has made with the RB18 has allowed him to get the car handling more to his liking, “It was mainly just because of the weight,” he said. “The car was very heavily overweight, initially.

“That doesn’t help the balance of the car because it becomes all a bit lazy and also in the wrong place of the car. So the car was overweight and that’s why it made it understeer quite a bit.”

BMW has no interest in F1 return

BMW is not interested in joining Mercedes and Audi in Formula 1. The manufacturer, which supplied engines to Williams from 2000 and took over Sauber’s entry from 2006-09, has consistently dismissed speculation it might return to the series.

“We’re definitely not interested in that at the moment,” said BMW M Motorsport head Andreas Roos, who took over from Mike Krack at the team after he joined Aston Martin as its F1 team principal, in an interview for Motorsport Total.

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Many thanks to everyone who entered this week’s caption competition for their excellent suggestions. Our winner is @Tom-L:

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On this day in motorsport

  • 40 years ago today Bobby Rahal won the penultimate round of the CART IndyCar series at Michigan, ahead of Mario Andretti

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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...

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23 comments on “Verstappen says changes to “very overweight” Red Bull were key to his 2022 gains”

  1. It’s not just BMW who are not interested….
    Anyone remember 1990 when 8 manufacturers supplied 12 engines/variants to F1?
    Seems so long ago…

    1. There were eight engine suppliers in F1 as recently as 2002 – although that’s 20 years ago now.

      1. Ah, so there was.
        I should have remembered the last time F1 was attractive to manufacturers and not just desperately begging them to stay for the purpose of survival.

  2. That was one of the best caption contests in a while, so many winners!

    1. Yeah it was great – congrats @tom-l a worthy winner!

  3. For now, zero space for Barranquilla.

    But how accidentally?

  4. In hindsight it’s pretty crazy how competitive Red Bull was with a car that was apparently so overweight. No wonder they were so confident early on despite being that close with Ferrari and having some technical issues.

    Ferrari were really never in this fight, especially when you consider they didn’t develop the car until the season was well underway, Binotto has a lot to learn on how to fight for championships.

  5. Leclerc could have built a massive lead while Red Bull were squandering points early on but instead they threw away loads of points and took the pressure completely off Red Bull. The key to competing in championships is to keep the pressure on as that is what will create opportunities but Ferrari really have just lost the plot (while Verstappen has been faultless and relentless in the same period).

    Ferrari could have been in the fight this year although I doubt they’d have ultimately won but I certainly think they could have got to this point of the year close to Verstappen. I don’t like calling for the heads of organisations like Binotto as I don’t think replacing them actually changes anything but his insistence that they’re doing nothing wrong does look like he’s not going to drive the necessary change. At the end of the day he has taken them to second in the championship from where they dropped following the engine “issues” so he can take the team forward and that might buy him some grace this year.

    There is also the fact that Red Bull have kept huge pressure on them as they needed to do and that might have amplified issues for Ferrari. Red Bull have indeed managed their year well and clearly their design worked exactly as expected and as such the development plan they had worked brilliantly as they had no huge issues to resolve with their car and could focus on the planned weight shedding work.

    1. (Binotto’s) insistence that they’re doing nothing wrong does look like he’s not going to drive the necessary change.

      That’s the big problem at Ferrari, and in the end the required change will need to come from the top.
      Binotto could be the best at directing the engineering part of the organisation (they did have the fastest car at the start of this season). But to win Championships you need more than that; you need to drive the whole organisation to maximise performance.
      It doesn’t seem that Binotto is the right person/leader for that.

      1. I agree with the both of you but maybe there is a difference in what Binotto communicates to the outside world vs what is being discussed within the team. I hope so. Not because I like PR talk, quite the contrary, but then we can at least see some improvements on short term. Replacing management of the team, going for a reset, might set them further back again initially.

        1. I think it is unlikely that he strikes a different tone internally, but even if he does it is an ineffective management style. A leader/manager is simply not believable (i.e. effective) if he says something different in pubic (we have done the correct things) than internally (we made a mistake).
          This does not mean that he should throw his team under the bus, but he should at least admit that mistakes have been made, improvements are needed, and that he is is ultimately responsible.

          I think Ferrari can go for a softish reshuffle if they make Binotto responsible for all the in-house engineering tasks and get a true leader (more than manager) to lead the team in public. Maybe a bit like Horner and Newey.

    2. On that note, the current 2022 F1 season in which Lerclerc and Verstappen finished every race with max possible points (with perfect reliability and not including FLs to even things out):

      Race / Leclerc / Ver
      Bahrain / 1st / 2nd
      Saudi / 2nd / 1st
      Aus / 1st / 2nd
      Imola / 3rd / 1st
      Miami / 2nd / 1st
      Spain / 1st / 2nd
      Monaco / 1st / 3rd
      Baku / 2nd / 1st
      Canada / 3rd / 1st
      Silverstone / 2nd / 1st
      Austria / 1st / 2nd
      France / 2nd / 1st
      Hungary / 1st / 2nd
      Spa / 3rd / 1st
      Zandvoort / 2nd / 1st
      Monza / 2nd / 1st

      Total / 312 pts 6 wins / 355 pts 10 wins
      Gap: 43 pts

      This shows Ferrari and Leclerc have dropped the ball massively and could have made the championship a bit more interesting (ala Alonso 2012).

  6. RBR started the season with the RB8 ~15 kg off the weight limits. Ferrari on the other hand have been instantly on the weight limit from the start of the season. That’s why in the first part of the season they held the upper hand in the rapid change of directions and in the slow corners while RBR were mighty on the straights. RBR are known for their quality in-season development rate unlike Ferrari who are known for starting the season strong and fading through the season.

    Though looking at the developments brought by both teams. Ferrari did well against the benchmark RBR development wise. For example : Rear wings : RBR brought 3 versions : high, medium and low downforce wings while Ferrari brought 6 versions ! Floor : There was a main upgrade for both RBR and Ferrari in Silverstone and Paul Ricard respectively with minor adjustments in other races.

    It’s worth to mention that Ferrari upgrades that were carefully introduced unlike previous seasons delivered the expected results which also beg the question of how RBR made a huge leap after the summer break in the meantime they were trading upgrades with Ferrari who were also delivering ? It’s the way the upgrades were introduced and above all the weight of those upgrades.

    RBR managed to reach the weight limit in Hungary which coincided with them picking another gear and never stopped winning. Some might argue that Hungary win was mainly due to the Ferrari harakiri and Spa and Monza are RBR’ strongest tracks. There is also the TD039 which seems to have affected Ferrari though in the Dutch GP which normally a Ferrari track, RBR were matching Ferrari in the slow and medium speed corners while keeping their advantage on the straights. This was also the case in Spa where Verstappen was mighty in sector 2.

    RBR smartly focused their development on Max who is the real deal. They gave him the priority in terms of upgrades which for an extra advantage compared to Ferrari who were splitting their upgrades between their drivers. Perez is still racing an outdated car and RBR have already secured both championships.

    The story of the lighter chassis that passed the FIA crash test but wasn’t raced, RBR switching resources earlier than expected thanks to their big lead in both championships on next year’s car and the current form of the entire team doesn’t bold well for next year…

    1. Next year will be next year. Now that everyone’s seen what the right concept is for next year’s car, especially Mercedes (who despite their “we haven’t decided what concept to run next year” will most definitely run Red Bull’s concept next year) will be right up there again and challenging for wins and championships.

      This is not an engine advantage, this is just one team building a better car than everyone else, there’s no reason to suspect other teams can’t close that gap and challenge Red Bull going forward.

      This year, ultimately, looks way more uncompetitive on paper than it is in practice. So no, I think we don’t need to be all doom and gloom about the coming years in terms of competition. Lets hope some of the better funded midfield teams can also make that extra step before 2026.

      1. The engines are close enough now that any small deficit can be overcome with a good chassis and aero.
        This will all surely even out and hopefully starting next year.
        In the Merc days, they could have had the aerodynamics of a fridge and still be competitive with their engine.

        1. That’s a bit too general G, let’s take Williams for somewhat of a (low) benchmark of what using that engine can bring, for example: yes, in 2014 it was very strong, but after 2016 it wasn’t all that big an advantage (and in 2018-19 until the FIA stepped in, Ferrari were stronger with the engine), with Mercedes clearly having a very good car (and Red Bull getting it wrong initially, several times during that era, partly cooling related early on, and with barge boards in 2016).

          It’s just that the Mercedes concept this year might have great potentially great, but so far no one has solved the issues (and only Merc. were bold/(over)confident enough to put it on track rather than go to something else.) that make it so it can consistently show anything like it, while Ferrari did create a very solid car out of the box, and Red Bull had a working design that only needed fine-tuning, which they aptly did.

          I think that pretending it was ever only the engine is selling not only Mercedes, but also their competitors, short. It also tends to show bias against the team, which isn’t clever.

          1. I think he’s also ignoring the huge advantage Mercedes had in terms of mechanical grip which I think was way ahead of everyone in the last rules until the suspension rules were tinkered with to neuter them.

    2. It’s worth to mention that Ferrari upgrades that were carefully introduced unlike previous seasons delivered the expected results which also beg the question of how RBR made a huge leap after the summer break in the meantime they were trading upgrades with Ferrari who were also delivering ?

      Did RBR really make a “huge leap” forward?
      Or was it that Mercedes made a decent move forward, RBR made a similar one (I think the relative pace of Merc and RBR didn’t shift much) and the big move was a backward one by Ferrari.

      The FIA introduced new, more defined checks to stop people operating in the grey area of minimal measurements.
      RBR were cagey about any effects from the redefinition and then said it wouldn’t affect them, Ferrari whinged about changes mid-season.

  7. It would be interesting to get a technical article on just how RBR managed to reduce that much weight.

    Are chassis required to undergo further crash tests etc after passing their initial ones?

    1. Yes, the chassis needed to be retested @dbradock, like with design changes to the (inner) nose too and other parts that have load-bearing/crash resistance limits in the rules.

  8. Max is fat shaming now, despicable!

  9. Also refreshing to see a driver relating his success to the car

Comments are closed.