Max Verstappen Red Bull accusation flatly denied

Sergio Perez has struggled to get close to Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen throughout 2023.

Reigning Formula E World Champion and Red Bull simulator driver Jake Dennis has stressed that the RB19 isn’t “purely made” for Max Verstappen, an accusation which is often made.

Dennis has worked for Red Bull as a sim driver since 2018, with the Milton Keynes-based outfit having finally rewarded the Briton for his hard work on Friday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Red Bull fielded Dennis and Formula 2 driver Isack Hadjar during Free Practice 1 at the Yas Marina Circuit, to comply with the mandatory rule of each team needing to field a rookie driver for two sessions.

As Dennis and Hadjar both drove for the Austrians in FP1, they complied with the regulation.

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Dennis ended the session in P16 and ahead of Hadjar, in what was an incredible experience for the Andretti Formula E driver.

Given that he’s used to driving in the all-electric series, his insight into driving the RB19 was fascinating, as it’s so different to what he usually races.

He admitted that the car from the get-go felt “completely natural”, although he did need to pit in the opening minutes of FP1 to tighten his helmet.

“Honestly, just jumping in the car today – obviously I don’t drive F1 cars I do a lot of simulator work – but you jump in this car and it just feels completely natural,” Dennis told F1 TV.

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Dennis was behind the wheel of Verstappen’s car whilst Hadjar drive Perez’s, with the three-time World Champion having watched on intently.

Red Bull are often accused of having designed a car more suited to Verstappen than Perez, resulting in the 26-year-old’s dominance.

Following FP1, Dennis stressed that this isn’t the case in the slightest, with it simply being “up to the driver” to get the most out of the package.

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“I don’t agree when people say ‘Are the cars designed for Max?’ I jumped in that thing today and it felt exactly like how a race car should,” said Dennis.

“It does what you want it to do, it turns the way it should turn. I think people who are often skeptical to jump to conclusions of ‘This car is purely made for Max’ – it’s really not the case.

“Any team goes out there to build the fastest race car possible and it’s up to the driver to adjust to that. And I think that’s exactly what Red Bull have done and Max, obviously the talent he is, has done that.”