RB20 labelled ‘deeply ironic’ as doubts are raised over F1 2024 performance

Sam Cooper
Red Bull’s RB20 out on the track.

The RB20 has a lot to live up to after the success of the RB19.

F1 analyst Mark Gallagher labelled the RB20 “deeply ironic” ahead of the season start and suggested it being a successful car was not a foregone conclusion.

Just as the rest of the grid produced similar cars to Red Bull’s RB19, the Milton Keynes side went in a different direction.

With F1 a few days away from its first race of the 2024 season, Gallagher said Adrian Newey is not known as a man who makes mistakes.

Red Bull’s RB20 ‘ironic’ according to F1 analyst

Speaking to PlanetF1.com via Betway, Gallagher labelled the RB20 an “ironic” car given its similarities to the Mercedes W13 and early season W14.

“It’s a very interesting topic because the media and other teams were expecting the RB20 to be an evolution of the totally dominant RB19,” he said. “If anything, Adrian Newey and the technical director of his team have gone for a revolution.

“It’s amusing, ironic and fascinating because essentially, the whole grid has said to be copying Red Bull’s concept from last year and now Red Bull have moved things on.

“At the beginning of testing, it remains to be seen to see if the RB20 is a step forward that Adrian Newey hopes it will be but he is not known for making major errors of judgement.

“Another thing that seems to be fascinating is that it seems they would have looked at what Mercedes tried to do in and thought they have a nice concept there if they can make it work.

“It would be deeply ironic to see if what has caused Mercedes so much pain over the last two years turns out to have given Adrian Newey a bright idea that is executed extremely well.

“It’s going to be a real interesting time and we will know within the next few days who are the heroes and zeroes from pre-season testing. One of the big questions will be answered as to whether the RB20 is going to be the step forward that they hope.”

As to whether they are still favourites, Gallagher said their dominance in 2023 meant they have to be.

He explained: “Given their total dominance in 2023 and the margin of their dominance, there is an expectation that they should continue where they left off.

“We’ve got stability in the regulations, and we’ve had a very short winter break, I’m not even going to call it the off-season because the season never seemed to switch off.

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“The Championship starts in February, so we have got an incredible season before us, and Red Bull have to go into the season as favourites. The question is which other team closes the gap to them and potentially gives them the fight.”

As for who will challenge them, Gallagher backed Mercedes to put up more of a fight.

“It’s interesting that a bad season for Mercedes as they regard it, they finished second and in a bad year are still able to get the results others would give anything for.

“They are incredibly strong and if they have made the comprehensive redesign of the car that they didn’t do last year as they wanted their 2022 concept to work then they have effectively thrown out the design and started again in terms of the cars overall weight distribution, balance concept etc. then I will imagine they will be in better shape.

“They underwent a management restructure last year with one of their senior people left and another was re-appointed in his job as technical director in James Allison.

“He will know better than most about the wrong turn that the company took in 2022 with the radical design they came up with.

“If Mercedes are to recover under the current regulations, it really has to be this year. It is a make or break. We are now into the last two years of the current regulations.

“This is a team that doesn’t like being beaten in the way they have been by Red Bull.

“You would have to say that Mercedes ought to be the one that steps up but what will be fascinating is who picks up the pace between Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin.

“What is really brilliant is behind Red Bull, depending on the developments, are the ones who will take the fight to Red Bull.”

Read next: Ted Kravitz explains why RB20 is not ‘unsuccessful’ Mercedes zeropod concept 2.0