Verstappen and Horner defend Mercedes-like features on Red Bull 2024 car

Red Bull launched the RB20 a week before F1 pre-season testing gets underway in Bahrain

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Red Bull insist their 2024 car hasn’t deliberately taken design elements from Mercedes but acknowledged they have made bold changes to the all-conquering RB19 that won 21 out of 22 races in 2023.

The RB20 celebrates Red Bull‘s two-decade anniversary in Formula 1 and features a changed design particularly further back on the car, with the sidepods shifted forwards and a re-imagined engine cover.

Red Bull faced a significant aerodynamic testing deficit compared to their rivals for most of the development period for the RB20 thanks to their constructors’ championship supremacy since 2022 and the cost cap penalty from 2021, but still enter pre-season testing as the team to beat.

“It’s not tactical, it’s based on performance and what we’re seeing through our simulation tools,” Christian Horner told journalists including Total-Motorsport.com.

“And 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.”

Meanwhile, Max Verstappen pushed back at any Mercedes labels on the RB20, saying: “No, I would still call it a Red Bull style. But I know what you mean.”

Perez surprised by brave new Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton on track in free practice ahead of the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP | LAT Images / Mercedes F1 Team

Sergio Perez did admit he could see the resemblance to Mercedes, but stressed he was excited about the new direction of the team.

He picked up two early season victories in 2023 but struggled with setup as Red Bull developed the car throughout the season and even missed Q3 for five races in a row between Monaco and Hungary.

He appeared refreshed at the launch though, as he prepares to take on Verstappen once more and was asked if he’s surprised by the RB20.

“Yes, a bit but at the same time it just shows how much this team is looking to move forward, pushing all the boundaries and it’s really great to see,” Perez added

“I think it just shows the hunger that there is in this team. We’ve had such a dominant car last year that you wouldn’t imagine us changing the concept as much and I think it’s really brave from Red Bull to do that.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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