Rumour Red Bull will adopt Mercedes-style F1 'zeropod' in future upgrade

Red Bull are rumoured to be introducing a Mercedes-style 'zeropod' design to their 2024 F1 car.

The RB20 could be set for an early design change
The RB20 could be set for an early design change

Red Bull could introduce a Mercedes-style ‘zeropod’ design to their F1 car after the opening races of the 2024 season, it has been reported.

The reigning world champions are “poised to further replicate previous Mercedes F1 car designs by moving towards a ‘zeropod’-style concept with its first major upgrade of 2024”, according to Autosport.

Autosport report that Red Bull’s current RB20 design will only be used in Bahrain for both pre-season testing and the race, Saudi Arabia and Australia, where conditions are expected to be hot.

With cooling anticipated to be less marginal at the Japanese Grand Prix in early April, Red Bull are set to unleash an upgrade that will mimic Mercedes’ controversial ‘zeropod’ concept.

Mercedes finally abandoned their ‘zeropod’ design at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix to move to a more conventional sidepod concept after its real-world performance failed to match up to the numbers being produced in the wind tunnel.

With most of the field having now converged to a concept similar to the one featuring on the last two Red Bull cars, Red Bull raised eyebrows at the launch of their RB20 by presenting a design that drew comparisons to Mercedes’ W14.

The areas most reminiscent of last year’s Mercedes include vertical sidepod inlets and a bulge running the length of the engine cover.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen said he would “still call it a Red Bull style” design when it was suggested to him that the RB20 featured some “Mercedes-style” ideas.

"I'm quite happy with the direction that they chose,” the Dutchman added. "I saw the drawings I think in Abu Dhabi, the last race, I was like, 'wow, that's quite different in a way.' And they've not been conservative, let's say like that.

"I think what I like about the team is that we had a great package, but they took the chance to really go all out, I would say and try to make it better. Of course, time will tell if it's really, really good.

"But from what I see within the team everyone is just happy with what they have achieved in the winter. But then again, we don't know. We can't control what the other people did."

Asked about RB20’s similarities with recent Mercedes designs, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "It's not tactical, it's based on performance and what we're seeing through our simulation tools.

"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."

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