Red Bull’s DRS numbers revealed: It has given the drivers ‘free performance’

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Red Bull RB19 stripped, mechanics working on the car. Australia March 2023 Credit: Alamy
Red Bull RB19 stripped, mechanics working on the car. Australia March 2023 Credit: Alamy

Max Verstappen’s charge from ninth to first at the Miami Grand Prix has once again brought Red Bull’s DRS into the headlines with Karun Chandhok revealing it reduces the car’s drag by “25 percent”.

That’s up on any other car with the rest of the field reportedly only losing “14-15 percent”.

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Red Bull’s DRS made headlines earlier this season when Lewis Hamilton, overtaken by Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia and again in Australia, called it “insane” while his team boss Toto Wolff billed it as a “mega”.

Dubbed the “super-duper DRS” by Ted Kravitz, the Sky Sports pit-lane reporter claimed after the Australian Grand Prix that is worth two to three-tenths per lap up on any other DRS.

It was back in play at the Miami Grand Prix when Verstappen, his qualifying undone by a late red flag that left him P9 on the grid, made short work of his rivals to run second by lap 16.

Later in the race he would also use DRS to gain a speed advantage over the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez to take the lead and the win, Red Bull’s fifth in five races.

“It’s genius isn’t it?” Chandhok said of Red Bull’s DRS on the latest Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“We’ve had DRS now for 12 seasons and they’ve just gone there and thought, ‘right, we need to find something that gives us this incredible advantage so even if we don’t qualify the front row it doesn’t matter’ – as proved this weekend.

“Somebody was showing me some drag numbers and when they hit the magic button, the Red Bull loses about 24-25 percent of its drag – this was for the case in Baku – whereas most others are sort of 14-15 percent.

“So they’ve just given the drivers free performance. So more often than not they’re going to qualify the front row but even if they don’t, they’re still going come through the pack.” recommends

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But it’s not only the RB19’s DRS that impresses Chandhok, the former F1 driver highlighting Red Bull’s many strengths of which design guru Adrian Newey is leading that charge.

“They have no weakness either,” he added, “it’s like a cricket team that can bat down to number 10.

“They got two incredible drivers, the car is quick in qualifying, it manages the tyres well, the engine is strong, it can overtake, the strategy team is brilliant, the pit-stop team is brilliant.

“And there’s no lack of motivation. Adrian is heading into his 40th year at the forefront of the sport, be it IndyCar or Formula 1, and he’s still motivated isn’t he? And his brain is still there and he motivates that team of people around them.

“There is just no weakness in that team.”

His fellow pundit Martin Brundle reckons the RB19 is a “genius car”.

Asked if this year’s races are more boring than previous seasons, the former F1 driver replied: “I don’t think it’s that, it’s lack of competition.

“Mercedes, for whatever reason, decided to just stick with something that didn’t work last year. Ferrari have stepped on their own tails. Thank goodness for Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso.

“Red Bull have just got it more right. That Red Bull is a genius car, particularly with the rear wing open, it is unbeatable.

“Whatever it is, it’s just unbelievable and that makes it unassailable I think in a grand prix now with its rear wing open.”

With five wins in five races Red Bull have raced out to a 112-point lead in the Constructors’ Championship with Verstappen 14 points ahead of Perez in the Drivers’. Fernando Alonso, P3, is a further 30 off the pace.

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