VCARB01 allays rivals’ collaboration fears with ‘not a copy’ assessment made

Michelle Foster
Yuki Tsunoda drives the RB01

Yuki Tsunoda drives the RB01 in testing

The VCARB01 is “not a copy” of last year’s Red Bull F1 car, which has surprised Ted Kravitz given their closer ties to the senior team.

Last season Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko revealed Red Bull’s junior team would not only be rebranded for the 2024 F1 season but it would also move closer to the senior team as “do-it-yourself constructions are the wrong way”.

In the mix, the team said goodbye to long-serving team boss Franz Tost to welcome Laurent Mekies, ‘Visa’ and ‘Cash App’ took up the naming rights, and the VCARB01 was born.

‘I was expecting it to look a bit more like last year’s RB19, if I’m honest’

The car, though, is by no means the copy of the championship-winning RB19 that rivals feared.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has been very vocal in his complaints about Red Bull and RB’s collaboration and questioned whether it was “fair” to rivals.

However, when the VCARB01 hit the track in Bahrain on Wednesday it was noted that while the car did have some resemblance to the RB19, as do other cars on this year’s grid, it was by no means a copy-car.

“My first look,” said Kravitz, the pit lane reporter,” it’s not a copy of last year’s dominant RB19.

“Yes, there are design cues from it. Yes, there is more integration between Red Bull technology in Milton Keynes and RB in their factory in Faenza.

“But I was expecting it to look a bit more like last year’s RB19, if I’m honest.

“Yes, they’ve got the underbite sidepod air entries that now Red Bull, the big brother team, have abandoned and yes they’ve got a very nicely sized undercut underneath those sidepod entries like last year’s Red Bull going to the back of the car.” recommends

Four times Eddie Jordan’s wild and wacky F1 predictions came true

F1 2024: 11 seismic, seminal and sombre F1 anniversaries coming up this season

Just call the car ‘Hugo’

Kravitz also weighed in on the team’s new-for-2024 name, which in full is ‘Visa Cash App RB’. However, already that mouthful is down to RB.

However, given the prominent Hugo Boss advertising on the car as well as the team kit, Kravitz wouldn’t be surprised if we started calling the car and every single team member ‘Hugo’.

The sponsorship is good for RB as the team seeks to challenge F1’s midfield.

Simply known as “RB”, Kravitz added: “But whatever you do, don’t call them Hugo. I know it might look like the car is called Hugo, because he’s got the name on the front wing.

“And I think it might look like all the mechanics are called Hugo as well, because they got their names on the trousers, but I promise you their names aren’t Hugo.

“Yuki Tsunoda’s name isn’t Hugo. Danny Ricciardo’s name isn’t Hugo either. And if I’ve said that sponsor long enough then you’ll understand that it’s actually just one of the many sponsors. That’s a good thing.

“That is a good thing because together with the two financial sponsors that have bought the naming rights seemingly together, that means more money into this RB team, the team previously known Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s second Formula One team.

“Pick a name what you’re going to call them, because money means speed. Even under a cost cap environment, money does mean speed.”

Read next: Adrian Newey spots an ‘interesting’ innovation on Mercedes W15