Ex-driver questions if Red Bull RB20 ‘allows multiple drivers to go fast, instead of just one’

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez standing in front of Max Verstappen.

Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

Taking the covers off the new RB20, Robert Doornbos wonders if this year’s car will be one that allows both Red Bull team-mates to go fast, “instead of just one”.

Although Red Bull have repeatedly denied any suggestion of favouring Max Verstappen with their upgrades, last season the Dutchman claimed 19 wins with Sergio Perez managing just two and they both came early in the campaign before Red Bull updated the car.

It was the most dominant display by a driver ever with Verstappen scoring more than double his team-mate’s points and finishing all but one Grand Prix on the podium.

Have Red Bull again come up with something that the others have overlooked?

This year, the general consensus is there will be more competition as Formula 1 enters into its third year of ground-effect aerodynamic regulations.

At least there should be, unless Red Bull have once again pulled a blockbuster out of the hat with the RB20 and its hybrid zero-pod sidepod solution.

“There will definitely be more competition,” Doornbos told Motorsport.com. “Ferrari, for example, was quite close last year in terms of one-lap pace. They still fell a bit short in the race, but that could be a matter of putting the right figures in the right place.

“So I wouldn’t be surprised if Red Bull has to fight a little harder for it this year.

“On the other hand, perhaps they will soon have a huge advantage thanks to their new design, if they have come up with something that the others have overlooked.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2024 driver salaries revealed: Who are the highest-paid drivers on the grid?

The many milestones Max Verstappen can reach in F1 2024 season

Will the RB20 also suit Sergio Perez’s driving style?

But whether Ferrari get it right, or Mercedes or even McLaren, Verstappen is still the favourite to win a fourth successive Drivers’ Championship title.

“You would be crazy to bet against him,” Doornbos explained. “The feeling Max has in the team is so good.

“And apart from the personal trainer, little has changed in that area. So the others will have to work really hard to be able to fight Max.”

That list of others includes the Dutchman’s team-mate Perez who, after a flying start to last year’s championship, suffered a huge drop-off in performance that meant he finished the season with fewer than half of his team-mate’s points.

Doornbos, like many others, is hoping Perez gives Verstappen a bit more competition this season.

“I hope he does a little better this year, because he has a golden opportunity at Red Bull,” said the Ziggo Sport commentator.

But, he added: “It remains to be seen whether the team has now built a car that allows multiple drivers to go fast, instead of just one.”

Read next: Red Bull insider confirms real RB20 plan with upgrades already in pipeline