Red Bull F1 design team has «pushed the limits» with RB20

The Milton Keynes-based outfit opted to pursue a different direction in an attempt to stay ahead of the opposition, and early lap times in Bahrain testing have indicated that tactic has yielded a significant step forward — Verstappen topping the leaderboard on the opening day.

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Verstappen revealed he was first shown what the team was planning for its 2024 car at the end of last year, but he said “I don’t ask a lot of questions about” the concept, instead trusting his team’s design department.

Asked by Autosport if he thought changing from such a successful concept was the right strategy, he said: “Well, at the time I wasn’t even too concerned with that to be honest, I saw the drawings and thought, ‘So, that looks nice’, but honestly I was thinking more about the upcoming holidays at the time!

“In the end, it doesn’t matter what the car looks like either. But what I do like a lot about the team is that they haven’t been conservative, and that they have pushed the limits again by changing the concept.”

Verstappen said he had no concerns about the team appearing to follow a path that didn’t work for Mercedes with the W13 and W14.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“I fully trust what the people in our technical team are doing,” he said. “They are confident that this is better than everything else that they have tested in the wind tunnel over the winter.

“As long as it works, I don’t even care what the car looks like.”

Regarding the way other teams have followed the RB19 route he said: “Yes, but of course that was to be expected. When you have a year like we had last year, I can understand that a lot of teams go a bit towards our concept.

“I think our technical team just sees more potential in how the car looks now, and developing that direction compared to what we had.”

Despite the encouraging lap times in Bahrain, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner remains cautious about the true picture, while acknowledging that Adrian Newey and his design team have made a “bold step” with the concept.

“I think we’re fair to say that we have a decent car, a good basis,” he said. “The drivers’ feedback was encouraging, and you can see that the team have made a bold step with the car. They’ve not been conservative, and I think the whole team have done a great job.

“And it’s not for me to question that. It’s to encourage creativity, to encourage that evolution, and I think, considering the lack of wind tunnel time that we had through regulations, the creativity that’s been demonstrated by the team has been great.

“And there’s some very innovative solutions that they’ve come up with, particularly around the cooling of the car.”

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