Seven-time F1 grand prix winner René Arnoux said on-board footage shows Max Verstappen “draws a clean line through the corner” with the Red Bull RB19, a kind of stability and control which rivals do not enjoy.
Verstappen set a record-breaking standard with his F1 2023 dominance, winning a remarkable 19 of the 22 grands prix as he stormed to a third World Championship triumph in as many years.
Not only was that a new record for most wins in a season, but his streak of 10 in a row, topped and tailed by the Miami and Italian GPs, also set a new F1 benchmark.
René Arnoux spots crucial Max Verstappen RB19 helping hand
Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, former Renault and Ferrari F1 driver Arnoux said a crucial factor in Verstappen’s dominance over the competition can be uncovered by studying on-board footage of the Red Bull driver.
Arnoux explained that the Red Bull RB19’s stability allowed Verstappen to “draw a clean line through the corner”, while his competitors were always making corrections with the wheel in comparison.
“Max is a fabulous driver,” Arnoux began. “Take a look at the on-board camera footage. Max brakes, turns, holds the steering wheel still and draws a clean line through the corner. The other drivers have to constantly make corrections at the wheel.”
For example, Arnoux focused on the drivers at his former team Ferrari, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
The Frenchman made it quite clear that Leclerc was the one who impressed him out of that duo in F1 2023, despite Sainz being the only non-Red Bull grand prix winner via his Singapore victory.
Arnoux regards Leclerc as an elite F1 racer alongside Verstappen, but returned to his point of the weapon that is the RB19 in Verstappen’s hands being such a tall mountain to climb.
“We can say with certainty that Charles Leclerc was very unhappy this year,” Arnoux claimed. “But his performances were consistently good, in complete contrast to Carlos Sainz.
“Sainz gave a fantastic performance in Singapore, but in most of the other races, he fell short of expectations.
“For me, Leclerc is one of the world’s best drivers, in Verstappen’s group.
“Max might have a little more bite. But as I said, with a car like that it is also easier for Verstappen to show performance at such a high level. The Ferrari literally ate the tyres. After five laps of a grand prix, Max was already relaxing.”
Both Mercedes and Ferrari are promising heavily-revised challengers for F1 2024 as they look to reel in the dominant Red Bull team, while McLaren are also confident they can push on after a remarkable performance surge with their MCL60.
However, if Red Bull produce another challenger in the ballpark of the RB19, then Arnoux fears for all teams hopeful of bringing the fight.
“If Red Bull builds such a good car for 2024, it will be another tough year for Verstappen’s opponents,” he warned.
Verstappen is looking to secure a fourth World title on the trot in F1 2024, which would match Sebastian Vettel’s achievement with Red Bull between 2010-13.