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Will Perez's "extreme" driving style hurt Red Bull?

Will Perez's "extreme" driving style hurt Red Bull?

F1 News

Will Perez's "extreme" driving style hurt Red Bull?

Will Perez's "extreme" driving style hurt Red Bull?

Sergio Perez is about to embark on his dream Formula 1 journey with Red Bull, with consistent race wins now a realistic possibility in world-class machinery.

The Mexican has replaced Alex Albon for this season and has already spoken of his immense pride at being given the opportunity to show the F1 world what he is really made of.

Both parties seem extremely happy Perez is with the Milton Keynes-based team, especially the driver who has already pointed out the incredible feeling of the new RB16b after a Silverstone shakedown.

Recent quotes, however, from Aston Martin technical director Andrew Green may have put Perez's prospects at Red Bull in doubt. Here, we take a look at why.

Why did Red Bull sign Perez?

Nobody can doubt Perez's ability in a Formula 1 car. His immense speed over the years has constantly turned heads, from his epic Sauber performances in Malaysia and Italy all the way through to a maiden grand prix win at Sakhir last year.

Whilst Albon struggled his way through the 2020 season in a race-winning car, Perez fought his way to fourth in the standings, despite missing two races after testing positive for Covid-19.

Red Bull needed another change. The team had to have a secondary option alongside Max Verstappen to pin Mercedes against the wall with race strategy and could not do that with Albon languishing in the lower regions of the top 10.

It was convenient that Aston Martin dropped Perez in favour of Sebastian Vettel then, allowing Red Bull to wade into the market and snap up the free agent. It just made sense.

Why have Red Bull's 'second drivers' struggled

The recurring 'excuse' that has been mentioned for both Albon and his predecessor Pierre Gasly was that the rear-end of the Red Bull was all-too-often far too lively to handle.

This meant set-up work was key and not something the drivers were always able to get right at race weekends. That was underlined by Albon's yo-yo like performances last season, with a podium at Mugello followed by a dismal Russian Grand Prix.

One of the theories around this is that the car is configured aggressively to accommodate Verstappen's driving style. After all, he is the driver at the team hauling the car towards race wins and mixing it will the all-dominant Mercedes.

What we do know for certain is the team takes the rake of the car to an extremely high level, which is why we see the Red Bull almost pointing downwards into the ground from rear-to-front.

Gasly had no confidence with the handling of the RB15 in 2019, whilst Albon was regularly pitched into spins last season, noticeably with his big off at Silverstone.

The hope at the squad is that Perez will be able to use his experience to overcome whatever issues have presented themselves during car set-up.

Will 'extreme style' hurt Red Bull's chances?

Andrew Green made an incredibly curious comment at Aston Martin's launch regarding Perez and his set-up style. It was almost a throwaway comment but may spark concern at Red Bull.

Green was asked whether Vettel's specific driving style would cause an issue for Aston Martin this season, given the German's problems at Ferrari.

"He does have his own personal driving style, but that is no different to the driving styles we have seen from other drivers," said Green.

"I would say it is not as extreme as the driver he is replacing [Perez], who had a very extreme driving style. It was very difficult to get right at all tracks. It shone at certain tracks and didn't at others."

Such an "extreme" set-up tendency added to an already complicated car set-up may create havoc for Red Bull and Perez this season.

That would be the case anyway if Green's statement is true, but this season, trouble could be even worse for the new pairing.

Given the fact aerodynamic efficiency at the rear of cars has been cut for this season, creating balance at the already temperamental tail-end will be more difficult than ever.

Perez is also moving from the low-rake conceptualised RP20 to the high-raked RB16b. This will no doubt take some adjustment when fine-tuning set-ups, although the Mexican has run high-rake concepts previously.

Excitement for the driver-team pairing is as high as ever with the season just around the corner. But if Perez's set-up demands do hamper Red Bull, just where will that leave the team in the 2022 driver market?


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