Ex-engineer breaks silence on Red Bull developing car only for Max Verstappen

Several accusations of Red Bull favouring Max Verstappen have been made over recent years.

Former Red Bull performance engineer Blake Hinsey has rejected any suggestion that the Milton Keynes-based team have been developing the car around reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, following further accusations of the team showing favouritism towards the Dutchman.

Since Verstappen made the move from Toro Rosso (known now as AlphaTauri) to Red Bull at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, the Milton Keynes-based team have forever been receiving criticism for supposedly favouring Verstappen.

With Verstappen having walked all over the likes of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon during their short stints racing for the team, it’s easy to see why many would view the situation as odd.

Neither Gasly nor Albon were ever able to consistently challenge the 25-year-old, who was always able to extract an extra level of performance from whatever Red Bull car he was driving.

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Many instantly put this down to the car having been designed with the Dutchman in mind, something that was questioned yet again last season, with Perez having weakened as the RB18 was upgraded.

In 2022, Perez actually started the campaign as the stronger and more comfortable Red Bull driver; however, Verstappen’s dominance started to take shape once the RB18 began to receive upgrades.

Of course, the rest is history, the Verstappen having won the 2022 title thanks to claiming 15 wins, compared to Checo’s two.

It’s formed a “narrative” of Verstappen being Red Bull’s golden and favoured child; however, Hinsey has since stated that not once when he worked for the Austrians was a car developed for one specific driver.

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“There was the whole narrative of ‘oh they developed the whole car for Max’. But having developed all the way from 2015 to ‘21 cars and ‘22 cars in the simulator, I don’t ever remember seeing those things where you’re pushing to help develop the car for the lead driver,” Hinsey told the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

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Hinsey actually went on to explain how if anything the Austrian side developed the car more for Albon and Gasly when they raced for the team, in a bid to get them up the order.

With that in mind, Hinsey thinks Perez has a great chance at fighting Verstappen for the title this season, with the RB19 working for both drivers.

“So, I think Checo’s got as good a shot as any year, and Max is a very difficult measuring stick to go up against. He’s a very tough teammate and the only person you’ve got to beat is your teammate,” Hinsey added.