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Helmut Marko

Marko: Verstappen's driving style not working with new F1 cars

Helmut Marko believes that Max Verstappen is currently struggling to click with Formula 1's new machines, resulting in a slight lack of confidence behind the wheel.

Verstappen Australia
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Helmut Marko has said that Red Bull are having the "opposite" problem to Ferrari this year, after Formula 1 introduced revolutionary new technical regulations for 2022.

While the two Scuderia drivers were usually very close together on track in 2021, Max Verstappen enjoyed a clear edge in performance over teammate Sergio Perez.

In the first three races of 2022, Charles Leclerc has had the advantage over the struggling Carlos Sainz, but Verstappen has struggled to put any distance between himself and Perez.

Even in Saudi Arabia - an event Verstappen won - Perez had been leading from pole position with ease in the early stages until an unfortunately-timed Safety Car compromised his race.

Verstappen's aggressive style not suiting F1's 2022 cars

Marko has explained that Verstappen's style of driving means he's struggling to mesh with the new cars, resulting in the role reversals at the two teams.

"Perez is much closer to Max than was the case in 2021," Marko told German publication F1-Insider.

"The simplest explanation for this is the new cars with less downforce suit some drivers better and others less. Sainz is an intelligent, very hard worker.

"In Australia, he was closer, but then he was unlucky with the red flag and later with the steering wheel. Perez is very happy with the set-up of the car.

"Max finds it even harder. He hasn't found the right balance yet and, therefore, doesn't have the fullest confidence in the car. His aggressive driving style doesn't quite go together with the new cars."

How are Red Bull motivating Verstappen?

Asked how Red Bull are working to keep Verstappen's motivation up after such a rocky start to his title defence, Marko says that the team have been trying to show him the context of two retirements over such a long season.

"His youthful age is predestined for impatience," Marko commented.

"I told him we still have 20 races left, with over 500 points up for grabs with Sprint races and fastest laps. Nothing is lost.

"However, the Ferrari is a very reliable car that is fast in all conditions, and apparently always drives in the right tyre window from the start.

"It's more difficult with our car. We need much longer to do this. We have to work on that."

Marko not writing off 2022 title fight yet

Having had two separate technical failures in three races, Verstappen now trails championship leader Leclerc by 46 points.

Despite this large gap, Marko believes that it is all to play for, and pointed to the example of the 2010 title fight with then-driver Sebastian Vettel.

"We have 20 races left," he pointed out.

"With Vettel, we were 44 points down at the halfway point in the season, but we still won. Even then against Ferrari.

"In addition, in the first two races of the season, we were on an equal footing with Ferrari.

"Only at the third event, in Melbourne, did we not stand a chance against Leclerc, at least in the race. That had something to do with the graining of the tyres and an imperfect set-up."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Can fast but fragile Red Bull respond to Leclerc's charge?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look back over the Australian Grand Prix, where Ferrari's Charles Leclerc triumphed and Red Bull's Max Verstappen retired.

F1 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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