Red Bull technical director Pierre Waché has revealed to GPFans how Max Verstappen's unique driving style helps the reigning champions make their car even faster.
When it comes to the RB19, Red Bull have built a flying machine – winning all 14 races so far this season, and hoping to do what no team has ever managed before by winning every race in a single F1 season.
Verstappen himself has won 12 of the 14, the last 10 of them on the bounce to set a new F1 record for consecutive victories.
It's hallowed ground in Formula 1 terms, where the team finds itself right now – and the most satisfying part for those inside the team, is that it has come by design.
According to Waché, Verstappen's mentality and philosophy aligns perfectly with that of the team's to allow them to always push for more.
"He is special," said the Frenchman, speaking exclusively to GPFans from the Red Bull hospitality in the paddock in Monza. "His motivation is very high. He wants to win everything.
"In everything he does, he does his best. His demands are high and the talent he has is huge. The combination of him and us: we have the same goal in mind and the same mentality. Nothing is guaranteed and we push every day to achieve the best possible. That's how he is, and we are on that same page."
How Max likes the car – and why it works for him and the team
The synergy is obviously paying dividends and team and the soon-to-be three-time F1 world champion is reaping the benefits – just as they are from his focus on helping the team to develop the package.
Verstappen's driving style is wholeheartedly unique and his preferences as to how he sets up the car are pretty individualistic. The Dutchman likes a car which is extremely sensitive at the front, with his driving style meaning that he avoids it seeming twitchy – whereas other drivers prefer more feeling in the rear of the car. The majority either tend towards the latter, or a less extreme version of Verstappen's ideology.
But it's the fairly extreme way Verstappen likes the car to be set up which allows him to get the most out of his RB19 – and Red Bull to find more speed in the car.
"Max wants a car that is very responsive," explained Waché. "It is very unique in the sense that he wants a lot of front axle compared to others we have worked with in the past.
"It is very difficult to find performance in the rear of the car. It is a bit easier to find performance in the front of the car. He, thus, opens the door for us to make the car faster, because he has the capacity and also the preference to have a very sensitive front end."
How Verstappen compares to the team's last F1 champion
It's a symbiotic relationship and not dissimilar to that which was struck up between the other F1 world champion in the Red Bull stable.
Sebastian Vettel won four consecutive titles between 2010 and 2013 with Red Bull and cut from the same cloth as Verstappen in terms of dedication to finding the optimum performance and perfect setup with the car.
Waché who joined Red Bull from Sauber at the end of Vettel's final championship-winning season says the pair are similar in many ways – but there is one major difference in their overall outlook.
"Both are very talented and they have a clear goal. They differ a bit in the sense that Max is a bit more focused on what makes his car faster or slower at that moment.
"Seb was more concerned with the complete system of how the car worked. It's a different approach to feedback," concluded Waché.
The interview with Pierre Waché was conducted by GPFans' Jan Bolscher.
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