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Max in Bahrain: 'Impressive that the team pulled it off'

Published on 22 February 2024 by Florence Cobben

Max Verstappen was lined up to step into the RB20 on Thursday afternoon for a testrun, but when his teammate Sergio Perez had a shortened morning test session, it was decided Perez should take to the track again in Max’s stead. Max, now with extra time on his hands, took some time to chat to the Dutch media.  

Oracle Red Bull Racing’s new car has undergone a pretty sizeable transformation, with a design significantly evolved from the 2023 RB19. "I had already seen in Abu Dhabi last year what the RB20 would look like", Max explains. "Afterwards I didn’t ask about it anymore. I trusted that the team would make the car as fast as possible. It’s nice that the team hasn’t been conservative, and instead have pushed the limits by changing the concept of the car."

Did the RB19 really need that much improvement? Max replies, "Last year’s car was obviously very good, but it was not fast on streetcircuits and in slow corners, and those were areas we sought to improve on."

Reflecting on Max’s first day in the RB20, when the three-time Formula One world champion drove 142 laps and finished fastest with a time of 1:31.344, he says: "From the first moments here in Bahrain, the car felt good. We were able to work through our entire test plan flawlessly. We experienced very few problems. The balance was in the right range from the start, so then you can try out a lot right away, because you don't have to waste time looking for the right balance."

Max continued: "That it felt right from the start shows that the team knows what they are doing and that we had found a good default set-up in the simulator. It’s pretty impressive that the team pulled that off, for a car that has never driven on a circuit before. That's been something that we've made huge progress on in recent years, that everything that comes from the wind tunnel to the car works right away."