Red Bull technical director, Pierre Wache, has revealed that tuning the car more to Sergio Perez’s preferences has ultimately cost him performance.
The Mexican won the Monaco Grand Prix earlier this year, and he out-qualified team-mate, Max Verstappen, three times in the opening eight rounds of the season.
The cars have been evolving at a staggering rate since then though, and the RB18 now finds it easier to turn in to corners than it did previously.
This naturally leads to more oversteer, and a car with a happy tail is something Verstappen has always preferred, as further evidenced by his 11 wins so far in 2022.
Perez’s only two podiums since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix arrived in Silverstone and Spa, and he has generally fallen a little further back from his team-mate.
The 32-year-old himself suggested that the upgrade packages have been working against him, so he has been working with the team to try and find a balance that suits him.
“It is multiple factors, but the main factor is clearly the car balance and the confidence with the car compared to the beginning of the year when the car was a little bit more balanced for him and a little bit less for Max,” Wache told The Race.
“After the potential of development we put on the car during the season, [the car] moved away from that.
“And after, finding a right set-up for him is quite difficult [and makes it hard] to put him as confident as he could be to beat, or to fight with, Max.”
The issue with compromising for comfort though is that Perez has lost performance as a result.
“It’s difficult when you try to develop the car, theoretically, for the performance and after you’re stuck in terms of set-up tools to rebalance the car,” added Wache.
“Then it means that you will have to go down a little bit on performance to achieve the right counterbalance, the desired one.
“I would say normally you will lose a bit of performance to make it better. [That] doesn’t mean it’s a lot, but it is this type of direction.”
Red Bull have been working this season to get the car down to 798kg, and as they have done so, they have found ways to lean the weight onto specific parts of the car.
While the initial concept worked well for the three-time race winner, it is now about trying to make the current one more suited to him.
“The weight is an aspect, for sure, but it’s part of the set-up of the car,” explained Wache.
“At the beginning of the season, we didn’t have the possibility to move the weight, then it’s part of the set-up.
“I think it’s everything together and after you find your performance somewhere, and it’s a little bit more tricky to set up the car.
“It went in the favour of Max. I think he’s able to drive any car. Now we have to find a way to give a car for Sergio to be performing and to compete.”
Perez and Verstappen look set to guide Red Bull to their fifth Constructors’ Championship this season.