Revealed: Red Bull’s ‘not tactical’ Mercedes style changes with the RB20

Michelle Foster
The Red Bull RB20 from the side.

The Red Bull RB20.

Red Bull raised eyebrows as they revealed their 2024 car, the RB20, showing off a car that had adopted a similar sidepod inlet shape and engine cover from the 2023 Mercedes F1 car.

Parts, it must be noted, Mercedes have since scrapped.

Red Bull took the covers off the RB20 at their Milton Keynes headquarters on Thursday, revealing the car that many believe will once again be the pick of the field.

‘It’s not a conservative evolution. There’s some real innovation on the car’

In what has been billed as a big design shift for the reigning World Champions, instead of last year’s sidepod design, this year the RB20 features heavily undercut sidepods more in line with Mercedes’ zero-pod.

The cooling inlets, which are reminiscent of vertical mailbox slots, have also been moved back and are a little lower on the car.

The engine cover is another area that is more 2023 Mercedes with its long cooling gulleys that run along the length of its engine cover.

“There’s great innovation on the car. No doubt it gets scrutinised over the coming weeks,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told the media, including’s Thomas Maher.

“I think creativity has been strong in the team, and you can see that in some of the solutions that they’ve come up with.

“So it’s not a conservative evolution. There’s some real innovation on the car.”

But while it was thought this year’s cars would lean more towards the dominant Red Bull RB19, Red Bull have instead taken a step toward last year’s Mercedes.

Asked about drawing inspiration from design elements Mercedes have since scrapped on their F1 cars, the 50-year-old replied: “It’s not tactical. It’s based on performance and what we’re seeing through our simulation tools. recommends

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“Obviously, the car looks quite visibly different in certain areas to last year.

“Only the stopwatch will tell but in the virtual world we wouldn’t have committed it to design if we didn’t feel it was better.”

Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey is happy with what he’s seen so far after the drivers put the RB20 through its paces in a pre-launch shakedown at the Silverstone circuit.

“We know roughly what we’ve done from the shakedown at Silverstone, it seems to have – from what we can tell – behaved as we expected it to,” he said.

“But that’s no guarantee of anything. It could be that some other team has done a bigger jump than us, we shall have to see.”

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