Ex-F1 driver ‘surprised’ by Red Bull following Mercedes influence with ‘rocket’ RB20

Michelle Foster
A look at the Red Bull RB20 from the side.

The Red Bull RB20.

During the “fun” of the launches, Giedo van der Garde was surprised to see Red Bull adopt Mercedes’ elements but he reckons it shows they’re “one step ahead of the rest” as they believe they can make the parts work.

Red Bull broke away from last year’s dominant RB19 with this year’s RB20 as they adopted parts run, but scrapped, by Mercedes last season.

From the sidepod inlets to the engine cover, the RB20 has drawn inspiration from the Mercedes’ W14 despite that car failing to win a single Grand Prix last year.

‘When you see that car like that, I think the RB20 will be a rocket’

Team boss Christian Horner has been quick to deny that it’s a “tactical” move to flummox Mercedes and the rest of the field. Rather, he says, it’s all about the numbers.

“Only the stopwatch will tell but in the virtual world we wouldn’t have committed it to design if we didn’t feel it was better,” he told media including PlanetF1.com at the launch of the team’s 2024 challenger.

Van der Garde believes Red Bull’s interpretation of the Mercedes-esque design will create a “rocket”.

“It’s nice that Red Bull has copied the rear of Mercedes a bit. I was a bit surprised by that, but then you see that Mercedes has done something right with that car somewhere,” the Dutch driver-turned-pundit told RacingNews365.

“With the new car, you can see the inlets of the sidepods, these are innovations that you have not seen at all in recent years.

“Then you see that the team is always one step ahead of the rest. When you see that car like that, I think the RB20 will be a rocket.”

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But while Red Bull put a Mercedes-styled car on the stage at the launch and Mercedes showed off a controversial but clever front wing, that doesn’t mean that’s what will be on the track this Wednesday.

Pre-season testing begins on Wednesday at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain and Van der Garde is expecting a few different looks.

“Some do and some don’t,” he said of the changes that could be forthcoming between now and Wednesday.

“I also think it’s a bit silly when they take a car from last year. For example, Red Bull did that last year, but not now, you see that Red Bull has put the photos online, but they went photoshopping.

“Other teams have also done it. With the Aston Martin and McLaren, for example, you could see very little, that is the game being played. They have been doing that for years. The front wing of Mercedes is also interesting. They have come up with something new.”

He added: “I always enjoy days like this, when the cars come out with the livery and I can see the technical things again. And I’m eager that we can get back to work next week.”

As for the teams’ 2024 colours, the former driver reckons Ferrari win this year’s livery prize.

“I liked the Ferrari, it looked sleek. The Mercedes was a bit boring, Red Bull more of the same,” he said.

“The black and green car from Stake F1 stood out, in a positive way. My favourite is definitely the Ferrari with that yellow and white. It’s just a chic car.”

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