Adrian Newey believes many of Red Bull’s rivals will aim to copy Red Bull’s design path for F1 2024 after the team’s success with the record-breaking RB19 last season.
Red Bull produced the most dominant season in F1 history in 2023, winning all but one of the 22 races as Max Verstappen eased to a third straight World Championship with a record 19 victories.
The RB19 built on the success of the previous year’s RB18, which largely dominated the first year of F1’s ground effect regulations in 2022.
Adrian Newey expects Red Bull copycats in F1 2024
With the likes of Mercedes and Haas deploying Red Bull-inspired upgrades in the 2023 development race, Newey is expecting more teams to follow Red Bull’s lead when it comes to car design for 2024 having been left “completely surprised” by the RB19’s dominance last year.
Asked to describe his feelings ahead of Red Bull’s new RB20 next week, Newey told the team’s in-house Talking Bull podcast: “Trepidation, as always.
“RB18, the first car under the new regulations, I think we managed to get fundamentals right in terms of how we approached the design, the research process, the architecture of the car in terms of its layout and so forth.
“We managed to come out with a decent car that we then developed through ’22 and we obviously had a very strong second half of the season in ’22.
“In ’23, the second season of those new regulations, we completely expected the grid to close up.
“Last year took all of us – me most of all – by complete surprise. I really didn’t expect the domination that we had.
“This year, from what I understand, a lot of our rivals have taken a good look this time and I suspect there’ll be quite a few cars that look very similar to our car.”
With fears of ever-decreasing returns in the third year of F1’s current rules, reports at the end of last year suggested Red Bull were considering a bold new design concept with the RB20 in a bid to “annihilate” the opposition in 2024.
However, Newey has stressed that the 2024 car will be an evolution of the team’s previous two cars in the ground effect era, describing the process of how Red Bull refined the original RB18 last winter.
He explained: “Our car will be very much a third evolution of the ’22 car.
“Last year’s car was an evolution of the ’22, the main points [of difference] being the normal winter development in terms of aerodynamics and some understanding on what we needed to do with suspension to try to improve the car as well, and getting weight out of it – because we never got down to the weight limit in ’22.
“This year’s car is the third evolution of that original RB18.
“Now what we don’t know, of course, is the third evolution too conservative while others have done something different? You just don’t know.”
Asked if there was a temptation to gamble on an all-new design, he said: “It’s a difficult one.
“There is that [dilemma] of: should we have a group that goes out and looks at completely left-field ideas, or do we keep developing the route we’ve taken?
“We’re resource limited, so we can’t do everything. We can’t look at every avenue, so we’ve taken the approach of developing what we’ve got. Hopefully that’ll be the prudent thing.”