Red Bull RB20 concept questioned with ‘wrong direction’ concerns about Monaco troubles

Michelle Foster
Red Bull upgraded Imola front wing

Have Red Bull made a misstep with the RB20?

Stopping short of declaring Red Bull made a mistake by scrapping their RB19’s concept for the all-new RB20, Jack Plooij feels they reacted to rivals getting closer and ran the “risk” of going in the wrong direction.

Red Bull arrived in Monaco for round eight of the 2024 F1 World Championship having already lost two Grands Prix this season, double last year’s tally.

Concerns raised about Red Bull’s RB20 concept

While Carlos Sainz clinched the win in Australia after Max Verstappen retired with a brake fire, Lando Norris beat the Dutchman on merit to the victory at the Miami Grand Prix. He came close to making it two in two races in Imola where he was just 0.725s behind Verstappen at the line.

It has Ziggo Sports’ Plooij pondering whether Red Bull made a misstep with their all-new RB20.

Although the RB19 was arguably the most dominant car in Formula 1 history, carrying the team to 21 of 22 Grands Prix victories, the championship double and the 1-2 in the Drivers’ standings, Red Bull dropped that concept in favour of a more Mercedes-esque design.

Putting minimal sidepods on this year’s car, similar to Mercedes’ zero-pod concept, they also adopted the Brackley squad’s shark fin engine cover. Both concepts were axed by Mercedes as they failed to produce the lap time that was expected.

But while it initially seemed that Red Bull had unlocked the concept’s potential with three 1-2 results in the season’s first four races, their Monaco struggles, which Verstappen says cannot be buffed out with a set-up change, have Plooij wondering if maybe they’ve made a mistake.

“Other teams were getting closer with upgrades, so someone said: ‘We have to do even better. How do you make the very best car even better?” the Dutch pundit said on Ziggo Sport’s Race Café.

“Then you run the risk that you might go in the wrong direction.”

Crunching the data after Friday’s practice in Monaco

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‘Charles Leclerc was Max Verstappen in the Ferrari’

Meanwhile, McLaren, who last season took a step closer towards the Red Bull RB19 concept and then built on that with this year’s MCL38, have closed right up on Red Bull’s heels.

Ferrari, who also took a step closer to the Red Bull design, set the pace in Monaco’s practice where Charles Leclerc was P1 with a 1:11.278.

Verstappen was only fourth fastest on Friday where he was over half a second down on the Ferrari driver.

“McLaren has simply taken a very good step,” Plooij said. “They brought some good people on board, and they were already very good. We did not see Oscar Piastri on Friday, but he will also be there in qualifying.”

He added: “The others are getting stronger. Verstappen is really disappointed that the car is not running.

“What Leclerc showed was that he went out and drove purple-purple-purple. I saw Max Verstappen. It was Max Verstappen in the Ferrari.”

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