Teams estimate Red Bull DRS ‘two to three tenths’ stronger per lap than theirs

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, in Melbourne qualifying. Australia, April 2023.

Max Verstappen drives for Red Bull in qualifying. Melbourne April 2023.

Red Bull’s rivals estimate the RB19’s DRS is worth “between two tenths or three tenths of a second” but Ted Kravitz concedes it’s not their “entire advantage though”.

After two dominant weekends in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Red Bull winning those races by 38 and 15s ahead of the nearest non-Red Bull car, Max Verstappen was given some competition by the Mercedes team-mates at the Australian Grand Prix.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton got the jump on the reigning World Champion at the start while Hamilton was able to hold onto P1 ahead of Verstappen at the first of the restarts.

But he wasn’t P1 for long because as soon as DRS was available, Verstappen flew past him with ease, such ease that he did it immediately which meant he still had DRS open for a bit longer and put a second between himself and the Mercedes driver.

Two additional red flags later, Verstappen won the race to extend his advantage at the top of the standings to 15 points over his team-mate Sergio Perez with Red Bull 58 up on Aston Martin.

Kravitz believes the RB19’s DRS is playing a huge role in the team’s on-track advantage.

“What word should we think of for this DRS?” he asked on his post-race Ted’s Notebook. “Magic DRS, super-duper DRS?

“Super-duper DRS, I like that, which is going to be talked and talked and talked about. recommends

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The updated Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship standings after the Australian Grand Prix

“But it is an advantage that other engineers in the pit lane estimate is worth between two tenths or three tenths of a second on that lap compared to another car with DRS. So this Red Bull super-duper DRS is worth an awful lot.

“Now when you consider that at some tracks Red Bull’s entire advantage is two tenths or three tenths that’s quite a handy thing to have.

“I don’t think it is their entire advantage though. It’s a great car, it’s very aerodynamically efficient, it’s engineered well and all the rest of it.

“But just think about that for a little bit. It could be half of their advantage is down to their super-duper DRS. Food for thought for the other teams.”

But it’s not just Red Bull’s DRS speed that’s a concern

While the Red Bull has epic speed with DRS, it’s the fact that the car’s straight-line speed is already superior to the rest of the field that makes the DRS “super-duper” as Kravitz put it.

Although it would seem on paper one DRS is the same as another, an 85mm gap that can open between the mainplane and upper flap of the rear wing to create a speed advantage, the design of the wing as a whole dictates the effectiveness of the DRS.

It also play a huge role in the overall straight-line speed of a car and Red Bull seem to have nailed this concept.

The team’s rivals are worried, Lewis Hamilton saying it was “just insane” the speed at which Verstappen blasted past him.

“His car is so fast, he passed me halfway down the straight and he was several metres ahead, like 10 metres ahead [before the corner], but I don’t know how they’re so quick on the straight – it’s just insane,” he said.

But Carlos Sainz says it’s not just on the straights or with DRS where the RB19 stands apart, it’s “superior everywhere” he told the media, including

“Superior in qualy, in race, in straight-line speed. Superior in medium and low speed corners. They’re superior with tyre management, they’re superior over the kerbs.”

With three wins in three races, post-Bahrain predictions that Red Bull could win every one of this year’s 23 races may yet prove to be true.