Max Verstappen has discarded the notion that the Red Bull team has consistently prioritised manufacturing and developing its Formula 1 cars solely towards his driving preferences.
Verstappen was promoted to the senior Red Bull outfit midway through 2016 and the Dutch driver has since gone on to win two World Championships and notch 35 grand prix wins.
But the extensive struggles of his team-mates in equal machinery, which ultimately saw Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly dropped, has led there to be question marks over the nature of the Red Bull environment being exclusively built around the reigning champion.
The debate was reignited during testing when Sky Sports F1’s lead commentator, David Croft, queried whether Verstappen’s recent success was down to consistently receiving a package tailor-made to his needs.
However, Verstappen has dismissed suggestions that the technical team at Milton Keynes purposely design its cars to cater only towards his driving style.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily just suited to my driving style,” Verstappen argued.
“As a driver, you need to adapt to what you get, and that’s also what I thought when I joined Red Bull, because the car was always like that. It had a good front-end, but I never experienced a fast car which has understeer in my life, in any category.
“For me, it’s nothing weird when it feels like the team is really pushing around my driving style. I feel like if people asked me ‘what is your driving style?’ I cannot tell you, because I always adapt to what I get in the best way possible.
“Sometimes it’s a bit harder than others, but I think that’s the key, you need to adapt. Every year, every track is different. That’s what you try to do best every time.”
Although Verstappen has stressed the importance of being adaptable, it’s been documented that the two-time title winner tends to gravitate more towards an oversteering car.
While Verstappen has proven he is able to wrestle the maximum from any type of car, the ex-Toro Rosso driver is firmly at his best when he has a package that fundamentally possesses a strong front end that he can rotate the car through the corner and a twitchier rear end.
Both Gasly and Albon struggled to adapt to the previous generation of Red Bull cars that were riddled by an inherent rear instability, while the hugely experienced Sergio Perez became the next to fall foul when he came on board to partner the youngster in 2021.
Perez would prove a more formidable competitor at the start of last season, but a spout of upgrades saw a huge chasm between the Red Bull duo materialise again, with Verstappen eventually winning 15 races in a season to his partner’s two.
However, after Red Bull’s impressive pre-season testing, its Motorsport Director, Helmut Marko, has revealed the RB19 appeared to already suit the needs of both drivers.
“We had a car last year that Checo did very well with in the beginning. And, after it was developed, Max has been more and more happy,” Marko said in an interview with Sky Germany.
“The difference is that Max loves a strong front end, really biting. Checo is a little different. He wants a more docile car.
“But we seem to have found a solution that allows both drivers to show their qualities.”