Alex Albon clears up confusion around Max Verstappen and Red Bull theory

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, in front of the '1' sign. Bahrain, March 2023.

Max Verstappen parks his Red Bull RB19 in front of the '1' sign. Bahrain, March 2023.

Alex Albon has addressed the long-standing suggestion that Red Bull design their challengers to suit Max Verstappen, which he said is a misconception.

Over his recent years at Red Bull, Verstappen had become something of a team-mate destroyer, Albon and Pierre Gasly before him having been shown the door after struggling to contend with the level of performance Verstappen was producing.

The next driver in line, Sergio Perez, has at least managed to reach a level which satisfies Red Bull, though when he saw his deficit to Verstappen grow at an alarming rate as the 2022 campaign progressed, he suggested that the development of the RB18 had taken it more towards Verstappen’s favour.

That then seemingly added further ammunition to a long-standing suspicion in the paddock that the Red Bull challengers are designed around Verstappen, though Albon explained why this is a misconception.

Instead, he argues that the challenge for a Verstappen team-mate is to also extract what the Dutchman can from a Red Bull car, since he is doing most of the heavy lifting it is only natural that the team follow his lead on development.

“I think people get very confused with designing a car around a driver and a driver who’s very very quick and wants a car a certain way,” Albon, who now races for Williams, told Express Sport.

“Of course, you’re going to listen to the driver who’s getting the performance in and getting a good job because the potential is more. I’m not going to call myself guilty for it but people misinterpret my words where they think what I’m trying to say is the car is built around him.

“No, it’s the fact that he can deal with it and he drives it in a certain way. You’ve got to try and find what he has because at the end of the day he’s making it work. Honestly, that’s the difference.” recommends

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Verstappen already looks well set in his pursuit of a third World title in succession, with Red Bull having made a dominant start to the F1 2023 campaign, taking all three poles and victories on offer so far.

Two poles and wins have gone Verstappen’s way, his most recent in Australia giving him a buffer of 15 points over Perez at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

Albon meanwhile was able to get his career back on track after being dropped by Red Bull after the 2020 campaign, having signed with Williams for 2022 and impressing the team to earn a multi-year contract extension.