Adrian Newey downplays ‘radical’ RB20 design as design secrets revealed

Adrian Newey has disputed claims that Red Bull have been 'radical' with their RB20 F1 car.

Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer celebrates at the end of the race. Formula 1 World
Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer celebrates at…

Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey has disputed claims that the team have been 'radical' with the RB20, labelling the 2024 F1 challenger as a “third evolution”.

Red Bull’s 2024 car - the RB20 - has caught the attention of the F1 paddock in the early weeks of the season for its aggressive design, particularly around the sidepod area.

To the naked eye, it’s similar to Mercedes’ design from 2022 and at the start of last year, similarly with their engine cover.

Given that this year’s car looks so different to the all-conquering RB19 - which won 21 of the 22 races in 2023 - many people questioned why Red Bull have been so innovative with their design given their dominance.

However, Newey - who is Red Bull’s chief technical officer and widely regarded as F1’s greatest car designer - downplayed how different their new car is relative to last year.

“No, not at all,” Newey said on the F1 Nation Podcast when asked if the RB20 was a ‘step into the unknown’. 

“I mean, the underlying architecture of the car is the third generation evolution of what started as RB18.

“Where we carry everything, apart from the radiators, they’ve changed, but apart from that, the layout of the front suspension, the rear suspension, the gearbox, casing, et cetera, it’s a third evolution of RB18.

“The bits that are visible, and they’ve obviously caused quite a lot of attention, obviously, we’re pursuing aerodynamic gains there, but the visual change is actually much, much larger than the performance change you get from that and there are other much more subtle bits, that people haven’t noticed, that are probably responsible for a bigger gain.”

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 takes the chequered flag at the end of the race. Formula 1 World
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 takes the chequered…

The only race Red Bull failed to win in 2023 was Singapore, while their weaker performances came in Monaco (Fernando Alonso would have won with a better strategy) and Las Vegas (Charles Leclerc had the edge on pace).

In a bid to improve at street circuits - and low-speed corners in general - Newey explained why Red Bull decided to make more significant changes.

“That’s what we’ve tried to achieve, is a car that is reasonably well suited to all circuits,” he said.

“I think, typically, last year are the circuits that we had less of an advantage on were the maximum downforce street tracks.

“Singapore, obviously, we made famously made a bit of a mess of, underperformed to what we could have achieved – I think we could have certainly achieved podiums there had we got our act together a bit better.

“But it certainly is true to say that those circuits are the ones that we probably have less advantage on, but as long as we’re not disastrous on them, then maybe that’s good enough.”

Read More