The secret to Max Verstappen’s RB20 success revealed by Red Bull sim driver

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen driving down the Jeddah pit lane with a prominent Red Bull logo alongside him

Max Verstappen's F1 dominance has shown no signs of slowing down in 2024

Red Bull simulator driver Jake Dennis has lifted the lid on Max Verstappen’s success with the RB20, revealing the car’s “very neutral” balance lets drivers push “with a lot of confidence.”

Having won 21 of a possible 22 races last season, Red Bull have made a perfect start to the 2024 campaign with Verstappen and Sergio Perez securing consecutive one-two finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Max Verstappen’s Red Bull RB20 secrets explained

Victory at next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix would see Verstappen match his own record of 10 consecutive wins, just six months after surpassing Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 tally of nine.

With the RB20 picking up where its record-breaking predecessor, the RB19, left off, Dennis has revealed that the car’s downforce and balance lets both Verstappen and Perez attack a wide variety of corners compared to the opposition.

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He told the Dutch edition of RacingNews365: “I think the amount of downforce the car can give and the balance in the RB20 is very good in a natural way.

“It’s not that the car is very nervous in the high-speed corners or has a lot of understeer in the slow corners, the car is very neutral.

“That gives Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez the chance to go through all the different corners with a lot of confidence.”

Ferrari have emerged as Red Bull’s biggest threat in the opening weeks of the new season, with Carlos Sainz coming home third in Bahrain before team-mate Charles Leclerc matched his result in Jeddah.

Despite Red Bull’s perfect start to the season, Dennis feels Ferrari are “slightly” closer to the World Champions on pace compared to last season.

And he has been left surprised by the poor performances of Mercedes, who were hamstrung by cooling issues in Bahrain before a challenging weekend in Saudi Arabia, where George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished sixth and ninth respectively with the new-look W15 chassis.

Dennis said: “Of course, there is no denying that Ferrari has closed the gap slightly. We expected a bit more challenge from Mercedes, but it seems the first few races were difficult for them.

“We expected the gap to close and it did, but we probably still expected a bit more challenge in the races.

“We’ll see when we go to slightly more traditional tracks, because we haven’t really been there yet. Bahrain is tough on tyres and Jeddah is a very unique street circuit. I am looking forward to going to more normal circuits.”

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