«Worse» 2023 rear tyre good news for F1 drivers

Pirelli has revamped its rubber for 2023 in a bid to make the fronts stronger, which is aimed at dialling out the understeer that became a common factor throughout last season.

But following the first proper test with the new tyres in Bahrain last week, world champion Max Verstappen said his impression was that the fronts felt the same, but it was the rears that felt weaker.

«They give less understeer, but that’s more because the rear tyres are not as good now as they were last year,» he said. «The front tyres are just the same.»

Perez agreed with Verstappen’s assessment of the different feel in the car, but felt the shift of balance could prove to be a positive when it came to managing tyres over a race stint.

«I have a similar opinion,» said Perez, when asked by Autosport for his views on the feel of the 2023 tyres.

«I think the rear has just taken a step in a worse direction. But I think at the end of the day, it’s good, because I think last year, the tyres were really terrible.

«The front was degrading, while the rear was staying fairly consistent, and it was just getting worse and worse.

«Now they have a more manageable platform. At least as a driver, you can do something, whereas last year it was just the front going to die because it was a very weak tyre.

«I think both tyres are more together. Probably the rear is still a bit on the strong side but generally it isn’t going to push as much the front I feel.»

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Perez has earned a reputation in F1 for being one of the best drivers at managing tyres, but he was rarely able to show off those talents last year thanks to the nature of the 2022 rubber.

Now, with the rears potentially needing a bit more management, he thinks there is a chance it could play more to his strengths.

«I couldn’t do anything [last year] because the front would just die completely,» he said. «Hopefully it will now help everyone just to have a more manageable tyre and something you can work on.

«This year, the fact that the rear is also degrading, you’re going to be able to manage a bit more the degradation at the front. So, I think Pirelli has gone in the right direction in that regard.»

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Perez is optimistic about the progress that Red Bull has made with its 2023 car, as well as the way that the RB19 appears to suit his style.

«There’s a good step forward in the right direction, and we are feeling a lot better,» he said. «So, we want to keep that going.

«I think we have a better understanding of the car. We have a better package. I did feel very comfortable with it through testing. I think we’d have a really good base for all of us.»

Perez believes one of the main areas of progress was in the fact that the car was much more consistent through a variety of corners.

«I think just in general, we have improved quite a bit the car,» he said. «The main thing is a balance of it. We made it a little bit more together through all speed ranges, which is very positive.»

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