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Max feeling positive after test days Bahrain: 'The car worked very well'

Published on 25 February 2023 by Heidi De Love

Max looks back positively on the Formula 1 test days in Bahrain. He was behind the wheel of the brand-new RB19 all of Thursday and Friday afternoon. Today, teammate Sergio Perez will be in action all day. Max: “The car worked very well. We managed to do everything we wanted and we’ve learned a lot. These were very positive days for me. I’ve enjoyed driving this car.”

The Dutchman says the car feels a lot better compared to last year: "Last year I found it a lot harder to string laps together. But of course that was also because that car was just way too heavy. Then you don't really get a good feeling at the front, because that's where most of the weight was. But now it actually ran a lot smoother. I'm really happy about that. With this generation of cars it is the smoothest winter test I have ever had. It's hard to compare with previous generations, though. But compared to last year, it's definitely better."

Everything Max was hoping for during the test days, played out during the sessions. “Of course we were hoping to see certain figures from the data, the wind tunnel and the simulator. If the set-up than just works, that’s really great. We were hoping for not too many problems and that when we drove the car outside the balance was immediately right. Then you can immediately go ahead and try extreme things and you know which way to go.” For Max, there are no major things that need changing to the RB19 before the start of the season: “It’s just a matter of finetuning the car. The weather, the wind and other circumstances also have an impact. At this point it’s hard to say. But in general everything feels good.”

Max drove on day one no less than three race distances and admitted he was a little stiff after that: “Yes, you always feel it. It doesn’t really matter how many laps you drive or on which circuit: after sitting in the car for the first time, you’re always stiff. I felt it a little in my neck. But mainly in my shoulders and collar bone because of the straps.”

The Red Bull driver drove mostly on the C3 tyre. A choice Max made as this is also the qualifying tyre next week. “In the end it’s not much use to drive a softer tyre on the circuit. We had them but due to a small issue we were unable to use them. Ultimately it wasn’t a big problem for me because you end up doing a lot of the work on the C3.”

Asked if Max finds it difficult not to be too excited after these smooth days of testing, he replied: "No, but I think not only me, the whole team. Look, we know it's all going well. But we also know that we just have to stay sharp and always improve. But that's just the mentality within the team, so that comes naturally."

The very first race of the season begins next Sunday. At 16:00 CET, the lights go out at the Bahrain International Circuit. Max does not want to predict yet: "We will see where we finish after the first race. It's hard to say where the rest are. The most important thing is to focus on ourselves. In any case, we are happy with what we have done."