Verstappen denies claims that Red Bull F1 car is built around his driving style: “I just adapt to the car I get given”

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Reigning three-time F1 world champion, Max Verstappen has denied claims that Red Bull’s F1 car is built with his driving style in mind, and instead pointed out he manages to adapt himself to whatever car he is given to drive.

Photo Credits: Red Bull Content Pool


After a dominant 2023 season which saw the Dutchman make history by winning 19 out of the possible 22 races – just two of the other three going the way of his team-mate Sergio Perez, in the same car – claims that Red Bull’s latest F1 cars are based around his driving techniques started to gather momentum, among fans and people in the paddock.

However, speaking in an exclusive interview with ahead of the 2024 F1 season, Verstappen explained how the Milton Keynes squad is looking for ultimate performance when it designs its cars, not for a particular set of characteristics that might help him get the best out of himself:

“When people ask you: ‘What is your driving style?’, I can’t tell you because it’s about being able to adapt to certain situations or what the car likes as well,” Verstappen said. “What do I want? I want more grip. There’s a lot of things that you want, some things are not realistic. So, I just adapt to the car that I get given.

“Throughout the year, the team just applies upgrades to the car to make it faster. Not to try and follow a certain balance direction or whatever.”

Verstappen is often at his very best in a car that produces more downforce at the front than at the rear, gaining a lot of speed in the early phases of the corner – under braking and turn-in point. However, he says he can change and adapt based on the needs of the car and the track, given it’s not always possible to have a ‘pointy’ front-end:

“It’s just overall load, overall grip, that you gain from upgrades. I’m quite happy with the behaviour of the car, but if the car is a little bit more understeery I have to adapt my driving to that. Or if it’s more oversteery it’s the same way.

“I think it’s been quite okay. Some races anyway you have more oversteer or more understeer. It’s very up and down in terms of balance, it’s not always on the nose. Some tracks you cannot run it like that.”

Red Bull’s main strength in the 2023 season was its utterly superior race pace compared to their nearest rivals. In some cases, the team would be ahead by less than a tenth of a second, or even qualify behind, but then steer clear of the pack in the race. In some cases, this could be down to balance, given in rear-limited tracks an understeery setup might give the team an edge in tyre life, and vice-versa in front-limited circuits.

But the 54-time grand prix winner is adamant that the team didn’t run any “weird” trade-offs with its setup in order to be so superior on race day, and put it down to its rivals simply varying much more in their own performances:

“We do our normal offset. I think the other people are having a great qualifying but then not a good race, if you know what I mean.

“Of course, you always look at the race performance, but we also want to be quick in qualifying. It’s nothing weird that we do just to purely focus on the race.”