James Allison reveals his first thoughts upon seeing RB20 F1 car

James Allison has revealed his first impressions about the design of Red Bull's 2024 F1 car.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Mercedes F1 technical director James Allison has revealed his initial thoughts upon seeing Red Bull’s radical RB20 car for the first time.

Red Bull raised eyebrows when they launched a ‘brave’ and ‘innovative’ RB20 car ahead of the 2024 season, featuring a number of drastic visual design changes compared to its dominant predecessor, the RB19.

Team principal Christian Horner said at the launch of the RB20 that his team had “pushed the boundaries” with their latest F1 car design.

And Mercedes chief Allison has commended Red Bull for not playing it safe with the development of their 2024 car.

“Well, mostly I thought that when a team’s out in front as they have been, it’s quite easy to rest on your laurels,” Allison told media including Crash.net in Bahrain.

“I thought bravo to them for being willing to do something that’s not just a straightforward iteration of the previous season. That’s what I mostly thought.”

Among the most surprising changes to the RB20 include a couple of features that are reminiscent to the design of last year’s Mercedes - the W14, which failed to win a race in 2023.

Asked if there is any vindication for Mercedes seeing Red Bull move in a similar direction with some areas of their car, including the shape of the RB20’s engine cover, Allison replied: “No I don’t think so.

“I think you could go up and down this pitlane and take the engine cover shape off every car on the grid and plonk it on any other car on the grid and it wouldn’t make a hill of beans difference.

“What will be interesting is what will be underneath that engine cover, what are they using that volume for. But that external shape is neither here nor there.”

Allison admitted that Mercedes will be “in chasing mode” for the foreseeable as they seek to catch Red Bull.

“I’d say that we knew on the first day of the test that we’d cured the unpredictable rear end,” he said when asked what Mercedes deduced from pre-season testing.

"We also knew on the first day of the test that Red Bull were out in front. So we’ll be in chasing mode for the foreseeable.” 

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