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Red Bull RB20 Triumph

Red Bull’s RB20: Aim for Unprecedented F1 Triumph

15/02/2024

As Red Bull launches the RB20, aiming to surpass the RB19’s historic 21 wins, the Milton Keynes squad faces the ultimate F1 challenge.

Winning 21 out of 22 Grand Prix, the RB19 was the best car in history, at least statistically.

Improving on this during a year with 24 Grand Prix seems like an impossible mission, yet that’s exactly what the Milton Keynes team aims to tackle with the RB20.

According to Pierre Waché, the French technical director, there’s even significant room for improvement left for the team.

“We did good work last year – but not incredible work,” he stated.

Such a statement might seem astonishing, disheartening, or even provocative to competitors… yet Waché provides some supporting arguments…

“We identified several weaknesses in our 2022 car… and we endeavored to address them with the RB19 [for 2023]. We didn’t resolve all of them, but fortunately, the team was able to mitigate the weaknesses we had and be in a position to have a competitive car on the track.”

For Waché, the RB19 wasn’t a killer on its own – it was more about Red Bull’s competitors not finding sufficient performance.

“The strength of our car is also the competitors’ weakness, because I’m not sure we expected to be alone at the top.”

“What I mean is that when you look at the lap times and the behavior of the [2023] single-seaters compared to [2022], some teams have regressed rather than progressed.”

“Also – and you see this clearly with McLaren, with the progress they’ve made – some got more lost between [2022 and 2023] than we did.”

“We did good work – I’m not dismissing what the team did – but I think it’s very relative. If some were closer to us, you’d say: ‘Ah, you didn’t have as good a car.’ That’s what I mean.”

For the RB20, Waché thus predicts: it could be even more performant than its predecessor…

“Oh yes, for sure. Definitely!”

“Max has mentioned several times that our ability to ride over curbs and our low-speed performance weren’t the best compared to others. This is clearly the area we’re striving to improve.”

Was the exceptional RB19 merely so because of Max Verstappen?

Moreover, was the RB19 exceptional primarily because it was in the hands of an exceptional driver, Max Verstappen?

In the hands of Sergio Pérez, the Red Bull did not seem as dominant…

“The issue is that the car has weaknesses, and it’s how you manage these weaknesses that counts. And sometimes, it’s not because you are the worst or the best [as a driver] that you struggle more.”

“Sometimes, you can’t manage a weakness, and that’s what we’re trying to understand with Sergio, to ensure we’re giving him the tools and the car to deal with it. But, you know, I would say that’s more an engineer’s job than his.”

By contrast, Max Verstappen’s adaptability has been remarkable, and Waché therefore acknowledges the Dutchman’s talent.

“Max has improved in terms of consistency and maybe self-confidence. After that, we also improved as he did. With a driver, the key is to understand each other, to ensure the vocabulary is clear between us and to understand each other to be sure we can provide what he wants and needs to be fast.”

“He has developed, he is more mature, that’s for sure. He was young – very young – but his pace and his ability to be fast and to translate that onto the track haven’t fundamentally changed.”

Max Verstappen: Key to Red Bull’s Success

“It’s certain that he plays a big role in our success, because he is the most talented driver, from my point of view. But he is also capable of providing feedback on the car to be fast and to analyze very well the behavior of the car and how to correct it.”

“That’s the technical aspect of a driver – but we don’t want a driver to be an engineer; we want him to be a driver, to be able to feel and translate into words what he feels, to see how to make the car faster. And Max is clearly capable of doing that. I have a very high opinion of him. Then, he’s different from Sebastian [Vettel] or other very talented drivers we’ve worked with, but he’s very technical.”

With the RB20, Red Bull has ‘made progress in all areas’

Red Bull decided to push further in the development of its car this year, with an RB20 that is much more radical than the formidable RB19, which incorporated many solutions from its predecessor. Chief designer Adrian Newey explains why the team took more risks.

“The RB19 was an evolution of the 2022 RB18 because we started that winter seeing Mercedes win in Brazil and Ferrari closing in, so we wanted to progress with developments,” Newey stated, before describing what the team did with its 2024 car.

“We found improvements in every area of the car, mechanically, aerodynamically, and dynamically. Will it be enough? We’ll have to see.”

Pierre Waché, Red Bull’s technical director, also detailed how the team thought before launching the development of the new RB20. The Frenchman praises the talent of his entire team.

“This Formula 1 business is the most competitive engineering in the world. To be successful, all departments must be on par with the others, and this motivates us greatly,” Waché declared.

“We tried to identify where we could gain performance, where our weaknesses were in terms of driving, for the drivers, and we tried to improve compared to last year.”

Reliving the “dream” of the 2023 season

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, recalls how the team reached new heights in 2023, with a record-breaking season. He too pays tribute to the work of the Milton Keynes employees.

“The 2023 car was an evolution of the 2022, and Max was incredible operationally to achieve all those records, with 21 wins, first and second in the championship, something we had never done, 15 consecutive wins, all of this depends on people and it takes an incredible team to achieve this dream,” Horner noted. “It’s an evolution from last year, but the team wasn’t conservative.”

Newey enjoyed being alongside David Coulthard, a Red Bull Racing ambassador and driver whom the engineer has known for many years: “The three teams David drove for are the ones I’ve worked with.”

“I knew him as a young development driver at Williams, he went to McLaren and I joined him, then he went to Red Bull and we saw how things developed.”

Red Bull RB20 Triumph. F1 2024 Red Bull RB20 Triumph. Formula one 2024 Red Bull RB20 Triumph

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