Max Verstappen reveals concern about rival ‘tricks’, admits weight issue

Max Verstappen now has two world championships to his name, winning a record breaking 15 races in 2022 on his way to the title.

The new regulations that were introduced at the start of the 2022 season would have made every team worry about whether their development path was the right one, with the rules being open to interpretation.

Some teams arrived at the Bahrain test without sporting any sidepods, while others showed of their innovative wing designs, as every team tried to get a one up on their rivals.

Red Bull got off to the worse possible start with a double DNF at the season opener in Bahrain, before showing a scary level of consistency never before shown by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, to storm to both championships.

Verstappen wrapped up the drivers’ championship in Suzuka before the team brought the constructors’ championship back to Milton Keynes in Austin, dominating the first year of the new era of Formula 1.

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Despite the team’s dominance, Verstappen has admitted that he had doubts about what Red Bull would be able to achieve in 2022 due to the major regulation changes.

“Honestly, that was a very big question mark. Because of the new regulations, we had no clue on where we were going to be,” he explained.

“Everything looked good in the wind tunnel and with the calculations, but you don’t know what other people have found. Did they find a trick?

“When the cars came onto the grid in Bahrain [for the pre-season photoshoot], to take the pictures, there were so many different ideas and you are like: ‘Did we do the right thing?’”

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It looked like the title was Ferrari’s to lose in the early stages of the season, as the Scuderia boasted the fastest car while Red Bull struggled.

Verstappen has claimed that there was never a problem with the design of the car that allowed Ferrari to get the better of them, instead putting their early struggles down to the weight of the RB-18.

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“Our problem in the beginning was that we were heavily overweight, so we couldn’t really show the true potential of the car, but over time we got rid of it and the car really came alive,” he explained.

“Upgrades helped, but mainly weight [was the problem].”

With Red Bull seeing ten percent of their wind tunnel testing time in 2023 taken away as punishment for their breach of the 2021 cost cap, the Dutchman will be hoping that his team can get their car design spot on, as Mercedes and Ferrari look to mount a much more serious title challenge next season alongside the energy drink giants.