Lando Norris has categorically denied claims that Red Bull will be building its Formula 1 cars exclusively around Max Verstappen’s driving preferences.
Red Bull have dominated the 2023 campaign, winning all but one of the 16 races at this stage to wrap up the Constructors’ Championship with six rounds to spare.
But while Verstappen has collected 13 victories – including a record-breaking 10 in a row between Miami and Monza – Sergio Perez has only been victorious twice.
The Mexican’s struggles were summarised by a failure to reach Q3 in qualifying at five consecutive events earlier in the year, prompting Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff to suggest that Red Bull tailored its cars towards Verstappen’s driving style.
Although Verstappen vehemently denied such claims, Perez fuelled those rumours further by asserting that the Red Bull RB19 has been developed away from him this year.
However, Norris has sided with Verstappen’s viewpoint, insisting that it’s always been down to the drivers to extract the maximum from the car the team provide them with.
“It’s not down to the team to just make a car design for a person,” Norris exclusively told RacingNews365.
“Maybe that’s a perfect world. It’s our job to deliver no matter what the car is.
“Max said something very similar the other day after Toto made the comment about the Red Bull. I don’t think you can just design a car for someone. It just doesn’t work like that. It’s very much down to the driver to drive the car they’re given.
“I think this way, if I end up being slower than my team-mates because of whatever reason, then I’m not doing a good enough job. It’s as simple as that. It’s the driver’s job. That’s why we’re here.”
(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 and Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60 battle for position at the start of the race. 24.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day.
Despite McLaren’s mid-season transformation from backmarker to regular podium contender, Norris has underlined he still experiences the same car limitations.
But the Briton, who has scored four podiums this year, concedes that he would always opt for a fast race car that is difficult to handle over one that is slow but suits his style.
“For me, the most important thing is to make a quick car,” he added.
“I think what people fail to understand sometimes from the outside is that a driver’s job is to drive whatever car they are given as quickly as possible.
“Yes, you want the car to be nice to you and suit you. But drivers get they get paid enough money to make the best of every circumstance.
“Whether it’s a car they like, they don’t like is tricky, is safe, whatever it is. It’s our job to go and just drive what the team give us.
“You can have a quick car and one that is great to drive but at the end of the day, I will always pick driving a difficult car that’s quick than a nice car that’s slow.
“And I think we know that our priority is just to make a quick car. If it’s difficult it’s difficult, then we can work on making it a better car to drive.
“But at the end of the day, I care what car I drive because I would love a nice car to drive. But I would pick every day a quicker car over an easy car. Because I think that’s our job.”
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