Max Verstappen makes ominous RB20 declaration as F1 rivals fear the worst

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen drives the Red Bull RB20.

Max Verstappen in the RB20.

Max Verstappen has said the Red Bull RB20 is “for sure” better than the all-conquering RB19, having put the car through its paces in Bahrain.

The three-time reigning World Champion aimed to caveat that by saying that every team has appeared to improve compared to last year, but such was the dominance he and Red Bull enjoyed last year, he has appeared to make himself pre-season favourite to win a fourth consecutive title.

Red Bull have taken a visually different design approach with their car this year compared to last, with elements similar to last year’s Mercedes appearing in the shape of the bodywork in particular.

Max Verstappen: ‘I know for sure the car is better than last year’s car’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

The stability in technical regulations this season lends itself to the whole grid being faster overall than their 2023 challengers, with Verstappen believing the RB20 is even faster than the RB19 – which won 21 of the 22 races last season, Verstappen himself winning 19 of them.

Beyond that, with a better starting point, Verstappen added he feels there is “more potential” to add within the car through the year as well.

“If it would have been worse then we did a very bad job, so I know for sure the car is better than last year’s car,” Verstappen told media including in Bahrain with a laugh, before adding: “But I think everyone on the grid has a better car than last year.”

Speaking on the car itself, the launch spec of the RB20 has appeared to be the class of the field in Bahrain, with multiple rivals having placed Red Bull at the top of their pre-season competitive order.

While it’s too soon to draw conclusions without any running having taken place in anger, Verstappen believes there is still more to come from his new challenger.

“Well, the team believes that, with how the car is at the moment, that there is more potential to find, I guess, so that’s now up to us to unlock,” he said. recommends

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“I trust the team to be honest, that they make the right decisions in terms of choosing the direction of the car.

“I saw how it was already a bit drawn [at the] end of the last year, but obviously I don’t care how the car looks like as long as it’s fast.

“Also, when I saw it for the first time fully built together, whatever shape it has, I sit in the car and once you drive out, you feel quite quickly if it feels quite normal or not.

“Unfortunately, our filming day was only wet so you don’t really know anything but as soon as I jumped in here, it felt pretty normal.

“Yeah, it looks a bit different, but it’s the direction that the team chose and I believe that that’s the best direction to go into if they say so and then, from my side now, it’s all about just giving my feedback about [the] balance of the car, what I think can be improved. but that’s an ongoing process with the car.”

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