Red Bull have admitted that its Formula 1 car development in 2022 has hampered the form of driver Sergio Perez compared to Max Verstappen.
Perez started the season strongly in the RB18, including a maiden pole in Saudi Arabia and a win in Monaco as Verstappen was not comfortable in the new ground effect machine.
However, Verstappen, who likes a car to be strong on the nose and can live with oversteer, has subsequently hit a purple patch of form, winning the last five races from France to Italy and is on the cusp of a second world title.
Perez, who has been running a slightly different floor to his teammate, has struggled to match him, hauling 96 points since winning in Monaco to Verstappen’s 210.
And Red Bull have now admitted that its development plan in 2022 has cost Perez performance.
RB18 development harms Perez
Speaking ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, where Verstappen won and Perez was sixth, Red Bull technical Pierre Wache spoke about the development path of the RB18 – and its impact on Perez.
“I think there are multiple factors but the main one is clearly the car balance and confidence with it compared to the beginning of the year,” Wache explained to media including RacingNews65.com.
“When the car was a little bit more balanced for [Perez] and a little bit less for Max, after the potential of development we put on the car during the season, [it] moving away from that is maybe part of it.
“Having to find the right setup for him is quite difficult to put him as confident as he could be to beat or to fight with Max.”
Perez also making compromises
Wache also revealed that Perez was having to sacrifice ultimate performance in favour of car balance.
“When you try to develop the car, theoretically for the performance, and after you’re stuck in terms of setup to rebalance the car, then it means that you will have to go down a little bit on performance to achieve the desired car balance.
“I would say normally, you will lose it a bit of performance to make better, it doesn’t mean it is a lot.”