Red Bull RB20 ‘dummy car’ suggestion made as ‘high suspicions’ emerge

Suspicions surrounding the design of Red Bull's latest F1 car have emerged on the eve of pre-season testing.

Red Bull's RB20 - a decoy, or the real thing?
Red Bull's RB20 - a decoy, or the real thing?

Bernie Collins says she is “highly suspicious” about whether the car Red Bull revealed at their launch will be the same when it rolls out for F1 pre-season testing.

Red Bull raised eyebrows at the unveiling of their 2024 F1 challenger last week when the RB20 emerged with several concepts that were reminiscent of last year’s Mercedes.

These features included a bulging cooling arrangement running across the length of the engine cover and vertical sidepod inlets similar to the ones on the W14.

But Sky F1 pundit and former Aston Martin strategy engineer Collins has raised doubts about the launch-spec RB20 design, suggesting it could be a ‘dummy car’ to throw rivals off.

“I think maybe years in F1 have made me suspicious, so let’s see the car that rolls out on Day One in Bahrain because I’m not sure it’s going to be that car,” Collins told the Sky F1 podcast. “This could just be a little joke.”

Asked if it could effectively be a ‘dummy car’, Collins replied: “Yeah, I am highly suspicious but let’s see.”

Collins added: “If they do rock up with that car, then it’s a brave, brave move because they could have easily continued to develop the car they had. That would have been, I think, the safer bet.

“The worry is, and we obviously know Adrian Newey and the Red Bull team are very, very good, strong aerodynamic designers, they have proven that year after year, but Mercedes obviously felt it could work when they put that on the first car.

“They obviously had enough simulation data, and aero data, and all of these things to say this car is the best we can do.

“So something is amiss between what they thought that car could do, and what it could actually do, and have Red Bull done the miss in the other direction?

“I’m not surprised they’ve been working on it, because as soon as you see another car with a very different concept, you start to look at have you missed something. Even a slower car, you start to think, is there something there that we’re missing?

“So I’m not surprised that they’ve been looking at it in the wind tunnel and not surprised that they’ve been experimenting with if they can get more out of it.

“I’m just surprised that they’ve gone with it. So they’ve clearly – if they go with it, they’ve clearly seen something that means they think they can beat their previous-developed car.

“But is there a miss in the simulation that has also convinced Mercedes over the past two years to stick with it?

“So if that car rocks up, which I’m going to be very interested to see, Bahrain qualifying is going to be really interesting.”

We won't have to wait long to find out exactly what Red Bull are doing, with the first day of pre-season testing getting underway on Wednesday in Bahrain. 

Read More