“I could win at drifting!”

By | September 16, 2023

Red Bull's Max Verstappen on track during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.  Credit: Alamy

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on track during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. Credit: Alamy

Max Verstappen’s radio messages during third practice suggest Red Bull’s pace struggles are genuine, and he’s not happy about it…

After struggling to find outright pace with a Red Bull on the limit on Friday, all eyes were on the championship leader to see if the Dutch driver could get back into the lead in Saturday’s third free practice session ahead of the Grand Prix of Singapore.

While the early stages of the session suggested that Red Bull had improved, the inability of Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez to keep up with the other drivers in the qualifying simulations quickly became apparent when both radioed their discontent.

Max Verstappen’s disgruntled radio messages during FP3

Perez complained about the rear of his RB19 being unstable under braking, but Max Verstappen’s problems appeared to stem from a general dissatisfaction with the way his car was shifting gears.

After falling almost seven-tenths of a second off the pace set by the fastest driver, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Verstappen contacted engineer Gianpiero Lambiase on team radio for an exchange that revealed all was not well in the cockpit.

Max Verstappen: “These gear changes… shit. I am sorry. I can’t drive through these gear changes. What the fuck is this?”

Gianpiero Lambiase: “Understood. We were waiting for your comment. I’ll take a look and see if I can give you a switching position.

MV: “Unacceptable.”

GP: “Box this round. I’d like to try something during gear changes.

Verstappen pitted towards the end of the session and attempted another flying lap in the final minutes, showing some improvement to move up to fourth with a time three-tenths of a second off the pace.

GP: “Feedback on the upper gearbox, please, Max?”

MV: “Maybe a little smoother. But they are still miles away. It’s just giving me instability. Not only in gear changes, but also in downshifts.

“I’m just fighting for rear grip. Have you seen the last sector? I’m drifting. If I compete in drifting, I might win the race.

Bernie Collins: Red Bull could opt for a softer gearbox

Speaking about Max Verstappen’s gearbox issues after testing, Sky F1 pundit and former driver Danica Patrick has commented on why the Dutch driver may be unhappy with the way his gearbox is affecting the RB19’s handling .

“He likes cars that are quite pointy and, therefore, the rear end is light,” he said.

“If there’s anything that sways him more in that direction, it’s going to be really disturbing. So obviously it’s not just about upshifting, it’s about downshifting, so it’s going to upset the car a lot for a guy who drives a much more nose-first car.

Former F1 strategist and engineer Bernie Collins, now a Sky F1 pundit, has revealed that Red Bull could consider the option of softening the gear changes – a move which would involve a compromise in performance.

“There are a lot of electronic changes they can make to shifts, they can help them get through this very tough change,” he said.

“But the problem with hard change is that it’s very fast. So it doesn’t actually lose much speed on the straight.

“If you choose a softer gear shift, it will be safer and you will feel better in the car, but it will be slower. Basically the car will be slower on the straight. So this affects acceleration. But the hardest thing in this example is that downshifting in the braking zone is so important. So it’s probably all coming together and why we’re seeing the blockages.

“These gearboxes have been set to ensure maximum performance. We have what is called seamless change. So it’s actually always in one gear, it doesn’t shift into neutral like you would in a road car, for example.

“But what they can do is start to soften it, so it’s not as fast. You see more of that sort of neutral period in the middle: slower on the straight, but it will be more comfortable in the car.

Read next: Ted Kravitz carefully evaluates Daniel Ricciardo’s recovery

Article Max Verstappen gets angry at ‘unacceptable’ Red Bull: ‘I could win at drifting!’ appeared first on Planetf1.com.

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