Striking Red Bull RB20 sighting brings strong reaction from rival boss

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen driving the Red Bull RB20 on the final day of Bahrain testing.

Max Verstappen driving the Red Bull RB20.

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella said the sight of the Red Bull RB20 made him go “wow”, though their anticipated advantage over the rest may be generated by what we don’t see.

Already there was great intrigue surrounding Red Bull heading into F1 2024, following their incredible dominance of the previous campaign where they won 21 of the 22 grands prix held, but said intrigue has been heightened further by their unexpected concept switch with the RB20.

While many rivals had used Red Bull’s dominating design so far in the ground effect era as inspiration for their 2024 challengers, Red Bull moved the goalposts with an RB20 which looks radically different to what any other team has put on the track for the upcoming new season.

Red Bull RB20 has wow factor for McLaren boss

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

It is safe to say Red Bull’s major diversion caught many in the F1 paddock by surprise, with McLaren principal Stella revealing his reaction was simply “wow” when he first laid eyes on the RB20, a challenger which McLaren are hoping to take the fight to with their MCL38.

But, while Red Bull’s innovations are “brave”, Stella feels their 2023 dominance, which had the team switching focus to the RB20 mid-season, will have provided the confidence to explore this new avenue guarded by the luxury of time.

“I have to say, when I saw the car, I was like, ‘Wow’,” Stella told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher.

“They certainly were brave in changing some of the shapes that made that car so successful last year.

“I think they could enjoy such an advantage last year, that gave them the confidence from a timeline point of view to take some risks, because, ‘I can take these risks early on to actually see whether it works’.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Red Bull RB17: The £5million hypercar with huge Adrian Newey influence

F1 2024 cars: What name has each team given their chassis for the 2024 season?

While Ferrari set the pace in Bahrain pre-season testing, the widely-held belief in the F1 paddock is that Red Bull are once more the fastest team out there.

And Stella warned that the secrets to Red Bull’s step forward may not lay in what we can see, but rather how the RB20 is working underneath.

“What I would say though is that while there is innovation that we can see microscopically, in these regulations, a lot is in the millimetres and a lot happens in what we don’t see between the underneath of the car and the ground,” he continued.

“So, while this could be the most visible, not necessarily it’s the most impactful in terms of the step forward they made.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is chasing a fourth World Championship on the trot in F1 2024, having bossed the competition last year with a record-breaking 19 grands prix wins which included a 10-race winning streak, also a new F1 benchmark.

Read next – Conclusions from F1 2024 Testing: Red Bull’s RB20 checkmate, drain cover dramas and more