Red Bull know where to ‘exploit’ rules with RB20 jet plane comparison made

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen climbs into the RB20.

The RB20’s sidepods have been the talk of pre-season from a technical standpoint.

F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds said Red Bull know where to “exploit” the rules as the RB20 once again looks a step ahead of the opposition.

Just as every other team went one way and produced a design similar to Red Bull’s RB19, the Adrian Newey led team went for a wildly different concept.

That boldness has been praised by Symonds who said Red Bull know how to exploit regulations more than their rivals.

Praise for Red Bull design from long-time F1 chief technical officer

Symonds was in the pit lane for pre-season testing in Bahrain and spoke to Sky Sports, where he praised the Milton Keynes outfit for their innovation.

“When these rules came out in 2022, I think a lot of people felt they were very restrictive and in certain areas they are because the objective was to allow the cars to be racing closer together,” the former Williams chief technical officer said.

“So there were certain things we needed to be prescriptive about, but there are certainly other areas [with more freedom] and I think what we saw with Red Bull over the last couple of years is that they understood those areas.

“They understood where to exploit and I think what we’re seeing in ’24 is they’ve taken that a little bit further. The internal flow of the air in the car, the flow that was going through the engine bay through the coolers and [the] thing is [it’s] often overlooked because it’s not quite so visible and it’s massively important.

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“It’s all part of this sort of incredibly complex airflow structure that goes to make a good racing or a poor racing car.”

Ted Kravitz was the one interviewing Symonds and suggested the much-talked about sidepod inlets on the RB20 resembled the jet plane Concorde.

“You’re an aircraft guy, Ted,” Symonds responded. “So you’ll know about these things and you will know that quite often you have a bit of a standoff to the index because the boundary layer which is slightly dead air, sticks to the sides of the survival cell, in an aircraft’s case, the fuselage so you try and pull away from that a little bit.

“But actually on the Red Bull, it’s a very narrow inlet which is actually very, very close to the bodywork. They absolutely will have done all the simulation, all the testing, they certainly know how that’s going to work. So I don’t think I have any problems with that.”

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