Red Bull explain why they technically ‘failed’ despite ultra-dominant RB19

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull RB19 in front of the Constructors' title trophy at the 2023 FIA Prize Giving Gala.

Red Bull RB19 in front of Constructors' title trophy.

Red Bull technical director Pierre Waché said a fast F1 challenger concept is one which both drivers can extract the “maximum” from, so Sergio Perez’s struggles mean they “failed”.

The RB19 took its place in the history books as the most dominant Formula 1 challenger of all-time, Red Bull winning a remarkable 21 of the 22 Grands Prix held, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz the only one to deny the undefeated season after taking advantage of a rare Red Bull off-weekend in Singapore.

Max Verstappen claimed a sensational 19 of those 21 wins on his way to a third World Championship in as many years, though on the other side of the garage, Perez did not have such a simply lovely time of things.

Inability to solve Sergio Perez struggles means Red Bull ‘failed’

Speaking to Formule1.nl Magazine, Waché admitted that Verstappen’s talent is what allowed him to always get the best out of the RB19 consistently, but then with Perez, who fell away dramatically after winning two of the opening four grands prix, they were not able to “understand” what he needed to recapture that form.

So in that sense, Red Bull “failed” since only Verstappen was delivering.

“Developing a fast car is a concept, it doesn’t actually exist. A fast car is a car that the driver can get the maximum out of,” said Waché.

“In that sense, we failed, because only one driver, Max in this case, could drive well in the car.

“That is Max’s talent, that he could get the most out of the car, no matter the circumstances. On the other hand, we didn’t clearly understand what Checo needed to push the RB19 to its highest potential.”

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Despite Verstappen’s crushing dominance over team-mate Perez, it was not enough to completely silence the driver versus car debate, with Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin left to watch on as Verstappen reeled off the victories.

Waché stressed that both driver and car need to unite perfectly to achieve such success, pointing out he would be totally ineffective driving the RB19 to prove it cannot all be the car.

“But whether this year’s [2023] success is mainly down to Max or whether it’s the car after all? I think you need both,” Waché continued.

“The more talent the driver has, the better the car performs. Because then the talent and the car come together.

“As you make a car easier to drive, you reduce its potential. Believe me, if I drove this car myself, not only would I be slow, I would crash.”

F1 2024 represents a crucial season for Perez as he enters the final season of his Red Bull contract, with the likes of Daniel Ricciardo hovering and ready to pounce should his struggles continue.

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