Why Verstappen’s main weakness can’t be fixed by the Red Bull upgrades

Verstappen Red Bull, Six Sports

2021 World Champion and the current championship leader, Max Verstappen is certainly on a roll this season. Though he’s having a very good season, things haven’t been picture-perfect according to the man himself.

With an almost insurmountable lead of 80 points, one might think Max will take it easy and will be chilling in the summer break. But Max isn’t even thinking to relax.

“If you know me, first of all, I will not be laying on the beach,”

“And second of all, I don’t really care about the points gap. Because for me, it’s all about trying to be perfect every single weekend.

“It’s not something that once you have that gap that you start to relax. I still want to win more races. And that’s what we’ll try to do as a team.”

The mentality that Max shows here is similar is that of a machine. A robot, who is not affected by outside factors and will continue to do his job the best that he can. According to him, there can always be things you can do better even on a seemingly perfect weekend.

Verstappen was very unhappy with the car, especially at the beginning of the season. The RB18, though a quick car had its weaknesses. Red Bull’s blips of poor reliability, an overweight car, and sporadic lack of qualifying performance frustrated Verstappen. Red Bull still struggles to find a permanent solution to these issues.

Understeer 2022 cars have been the bugbear for Verstappen

However, one area that even the upgrades might not cure has limited Verstappen.

The 2022 cars in general with the new 18-inch Pirelli tyres have made the cars quite lazy and understeer

Verstappen has struggled with the understeer, especially on street tracks like Monaco and Azerbaijan.

Verstappen admitted,

“Street circuits are a bit tougher for me,”. “The normal tracks are a bit better for it.”

Verstappen is known for his liking of cars with a lively front end. He has tremendous control of a car with more front-end grip. It’s a delicate balance, and Verstappen is among a select group of drivers who can consistently judge it.

Red Bull have been trying to have a more positive front end with the car upgrades. Red Bull have had some positive developments in that direction but the very nature of these 2022 cars induces understeer.

Pirelli has discussed developing a more durable front tyre for the following season, which, if successful, would naturally reduce some of the understeers that has affected most cars this year.
Mario Isola, the CEO of Pirelli, concurred on the tyres’ existing limitations.

Isola explains,

“He enjoys oversteer.” “He wants a lively front end, and he can effectively control the rear.

“I recognise your point. This is the feedback we gathered from all the teams at a particular meeting we have regarding tyres three times a year, and it was this one in general.

Therefore, we are not focusing on a particular request from a single team. The prevailing consensus was to have a stronger front tyre.

“Let’s see if we can accomplish it.

However, this limitation hasn’t deterred Verstappen from steamrolling the competition. The Dutchman currently leads the championship by a whooping margin of 80 points and is the favorite to win the title.

But according to Verstappen,

‘Nothing is ever good enough. Things can always be better’.

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