Red Bull’s ‘mega big DRS effect’ advantage analysed by Ferrari

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, pulls a funny expression with Charles Leclerc. Bahrain, March 2023.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, pulls a funny expression at Charles Leclerc, Ferrari. Bahrain, March 2023.

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur is the latest to weigh in on Red Bull’s DRS, the Frenchman saying while it’s impact is “mega”, he believes it was even bigger last season. 

Red Bull have run riot over their rivals this season, the Milton Keynes squad’s RB19 superior to the chasing pack both in qualifying and the grands prix.

The team has taken three pole positions and three race wins, two of those coming from 1-2 finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to give them a 58-point lead over Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship.

Carlos Sainz has called the car “superior” to Ferrari’s SF-23, telling the media including PlanetF1.com that it is “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.”

He added: “It shows we clearly need to change something, we need to go onto something very different from where we are now.”

On that list of something different, admits his team boss Vasseur, is to try close that DRS deficit Ferrari are currently suffering.

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Although the Frenchman reckons Red Bull’s DRS effect was even more potent last season, this year its impact continues to be greater than anyone else’s.

“A mega big DRS effect,” he said of Red Bull’s straight-line speed with the DRS open.

“Bigger than everyone else and we have to understand how they are able to do something like this.

“I think it was probably even more huge last year, but we have room for improvement in this area.

“They are doing something different and they are doing something better for sure.

“But we are on it.”

That ‘super-duper’ DRS is hurting everyone, not just Ferrari

Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz has called Red Bull’s DRS “super-duper” and says rival teams reckon it’s worth two to three-tenths per lap when it’s deployed, and that’s on top of the RB19’s normal speed advantage.

It’s not just the Ferrari that the RB19 is making look slow, Lewis Hamilton staggered by Max Verstappen’s straight-line speed after the Dutchman overtook him in Saudi Arabia and again in Bahrain, blowing past him.

Calling it “insane” and billing the RB19 as the “most dominant” car he’s ever seen, he said after Australia: “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.”

His team boss Toto Wolff agrees the Red Bull’s “straight-line speed advantage with the DRS open is just mind-boggling.”

It has Fernando Alonso, arguably in the second fastest car on the grid given his hat-trick of P3s, admitting he won’t win a race unless Red Bull implode.

“We need some help from them, but it will happen eventually when they cannot finish always first and second,” said the Spaniard. “One day it’s a pit stop, one day it’s a gearbox.

“There’s going to be some circuits where maybe reliability or whatever could help us and hopefully in those races, we take the opportunity.”

But unless that presents through a double DNF or at least huge problems for both drivers, Red Bull could potentially be on course for a run of 23 race wins.