Max Verstappen agrees with the assumption Formula 1 lap records will be smashed with the 2020 cars but fears it won’t help to create exciting racing due to the dependence on downforce.

Esteban Ocon led the predictions that this season could see all F1 lap records broken by the current generation of cars, a theory backed up by the opening pre-season test timesheet with Valtteri Bottas already just three-tenths off the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya F1 track record without finding peak performance.

While Verstappen concedes it will be impressive to see new records made this year, the downforce-dependent cars mean racing on track is “just getting worse and worse” given the drop in relative performance when the drivers are in the ‘dirty’ air from cars ahead of them.

The issue has been the key trigger behind the 2021 F1 regulations overhaul, to ensure the new generation of cars don’t suffer when following other cars on track which should help create closer and more competitive racing action. Early simulations of next year’s F1 cars also point towards the new cars being around three seconds slower than the current generation.

“It’s great to do lap records but to be honest, I prefer good racing,” Verstappen said. “The cars are amazing to drive, they are super-fast, and for sure we will break some lap records.

“But when you are following a car it’s just impossible. There is such a big downforce loss and of course every year the cars are getting faster so it’s just getting worse and worse.

“So, definitely for next year I think the cars are not going to be enjoyable and easy to drive, but I just hope the racing will be better.”

Verstappen also compared his new RB16 to its 2019 predecessor and feels the design evolution from Red Bull has increased his car’s stability while delivering greater potential performance.

“I think overall it feels just a bit more connected,” he explained. “But that was also the target. There was no real surprise there.

“I think already towards the end of the season we were working towards that and already last year testing some ideas for this year. So, what we targeted already from the wind tunnel, once I jumped in the car it was fine.”

Verstappen completed a total of 254 laps during his stints in the Red Bull RB16 at the opening pre-season test in Spain – the second-highest tally of all the drivers and only behind reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton’s 273 laps for Mercedes.

 

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