Adrian Newey’s admits Red Bull RB20 ‘struggling’ as rivals eye F1 2024 development war attack

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen on track in the RB20 with an inset of Adrian Newey

Has Adrian Newey masterminded another title-winning F1 car in the Red Bull RB20?

Adrian Newey has given Red Bull’s rivals encouragement by admitting the team are “struggling to find gains” in performance in F1 2024, with the rate of performance improvement “flattening.”

Red Bull have emerged as F1’s dominant force since the sport’s ground effect rules were introduced in 2022, winning all but seven of the 48 races held over the last three seasons.

Adrian Newey admits Red Bull ‘struggling’ to find RB20 gains

The reigning Constructors’ Champions raised eyebrows in February at the launch of their 2024 car, the RB20, a significant departure from its dominant predecessor.

Despite a change of concept, Red Bull have picked up where they left off and secured their third one-two finish in four races at the recent Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, where the team introduced their first upgrade package of the new season.

Although Red Bull are comfortable at the top of both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships, Newey has given the team’s rivals a slither of hope by admitting Red Bull are finding improvements harder to come by in the third year of the current regulations.

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He told RacingNews365: “From a design point of view, I enjoy regulation changes, providing those regulation changes give a reasonable amount of freedom.

“I must admit, when I first saw these current regulations that I was quite depressed by them, they looked extremely prescriptive.

“Luckily, there was a bit of a relaxation towards the end. But actually, once we got into the detail, combined with that relaxation, there’s been a reasonable amount of freedom within them – as you saw particularly early in 2022, there were lots of different solutions.

“They’re starting to converge now, but we’re now into that sort of: ‘OK, we’ve done some visual changes for this year’s car, but the principles are the same’, so the differences are reducing internally.

“In our case, we’re struggling to find the gains.

“In terms of aero gains in percent per month, [we] are flattening without doubt.”

Newey’s comments come after he was recently spotted at Bologna airport, with rumours indicating the F1 design legend has received an offer to join Ferrari.

The current off-track uncertainty surrounding Red Bull is said to have put the team’s rivals on high alert, with reports last month claiming Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll had presented a lucrative contract offer to Newey during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend.

Ferrari’s approach has been described by German publication Auto Motor und Sport as “clearly serious this time” after the Scuderia last came close to securing Newey’s signature in 2014.

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