Christian Horner has opened up on how the development of the Red Bull RB20 has been going, in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com.
All eyes are on Red Bull for their RB20’s unveiling, the car to follow up the dominant RB19 after it became F1’s most successful machine ever with 22 race victories from 23 Grands Prix.
With just one defeat – Carlos Sainz won in Singapore for Ferrari – the RB19 overtook McLaren’s MP4/4 from 1988 due to having a higher win percentage, so a stern challenge lies ahead to improve upon that for the RB20.
Christian Horner confirms targets are being hit with RB20
Speaking in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com ahead of the season, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner addressed how the development of RB20 has gone and confirmed that everything is on track ahead of the car’s launch.
“I think as far as targets can be, yes,” he explained when asked if everything about the RB20 is hitting the targets set out.
“We don’t have a lot of preseason testing these days, we’ve got a lot to focus on and to get done, but it’s always a busy time of year in the factory in the planning stage for the season ahead.”
As for whether any obstacles or hidden setbacks have been going on behind the scenes, Horner said: “There are always challenges along the way but, if you’re not on the limit, you’re not trying hard enough.”
Red Bull sim driver Jake Dennis recently revealed the RB20 has impressed him in the simulator, telling the UK’s Mirror that: “We’ve got an extremely fast race car again at the Red Bull team.
“I would expect us to become Champions again unless someone like Ferrari or Mercedes somehow manages to find about a second [per lap] overnight. I think it’s going to be quite a dull season in Formula 1 with Max probably dominating.
“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t switch our attention to the 2024 car quite quickly. We didn’t do any development on the 2023 car after Singapore.”
But Horner wouldn’t be drawn on whether he shares the same enthusiasm for the sim data, explaining: “[The sim drivers] are saying it’s evolution, not revolution – it’s a simulator, and still a virtual world.
“So, of course, you want a correlation between track and simulator, which has tended to be reasonable over the last couple of years.
“Hopefully, we’re making progress. But the stopwatch never lies and we’ll only see when we get to the track.”
Given the data he’s seeing now, just how confident is Horner feeling compared to this time last year when he could see the data for RB19 filtering through?
“Only time will tell, I mean, the RB19 is the most successful car in the history of Formula 1, so [RB20] has got big shoes to fill,” he said.
“But there are always things that you’re learning in this business.
“RB19 still had elements that we could improve and the team have been working hard to do that and address that over the winter in the design phase.”
Is it feasible yet to hazard a guess at just how much time Red Bull have gained with the new car? “I think it’s impossible to quantify.
“Let’s see when we go to the track. It’s all meaningless if somebody has made a leapfrog and you’re three-tenths behind. It’s all subjective at this time of year.
“I’m sure that everybody is focused on trying to beat us this year, and why wouldn’t they be? We can only focus on ourselves, the factory is very busy at the moment as we gear up for a big year with a record number of available events and races.”