2024 Red Bull RB20 - Launch Car Stance
Is The Red Bull RB20 A Backward Step, Aerodynamic Parachute?
Formula One

Red Bull revealed a surprise with their 2024 spec RB20 during the pre-season livery launch and sponsorship event, showcasing a notably aggressive development approach. Instead of opting for the refinement of last year’s championship-crushing RB19, Red Bull has returned to the drawing board, reworking nearly all aspects of the car. While we await a closer look at the RB20’s inner workings, it’s evident that it represents a marked departure from the RB19 in terms of aero philosophy. Many observers have noted its resemblance to the Mercedes W14.

However, one aspect that caught my attention is the treatment of the rear engine cover. It appears bloated and voluminous. When I first examined the studio images, the RB20’s rear engine cover immediately reminded me of the 1996 Ferrari F310, famously driven by Michael Schumacher. The F310 suffered from a fundamental design flaw in its side pod and rear engine cover. The bloated design resulted in excessive drag, penalizing Ferrari’s straightline speed throughout the entire year.

2024 Red Bull RB20 - Front Stance

It will be intriguing to observe whether the Red Bull RB20 faces a similar fate as the F310. While I am not an engineer, it is certain the Red Bull design and engineering teams meticulously consider all aspects during development and testing. To sustain the substantial advantage achieved in 2023, Red Bull has no other option but to continuously innovate. In their scenario, incremental advancements may seem like regressive development.

2024 Red Bull RB20 - Studio Stance

But I’m merely speculating; Red Bull’s design and engineering genius, Adrian Newey, is far better qualified to elaborate on the RB20 than I am. After all, I don’t have any F1 titles to my name, whereas Newey has crafted numerous world championship-winning cars, to the point where it’s easy to lose count. During his conversation with the media at the RB20 launch, Newey said:

2024 Red Bull RB20 - Adrian Newey

“I think the team have done a wonderful job on RB20, they haven’t sat on their laurels and you can see that they’ve pushed the boundaries with the car. We’ll only see when we get on track what the relative pecking order is for the start of the season.”

“There’s some great innovation on the car as well which will no doubt get scrutinized over the coming weeks. Creativity has been strong in the team and you can see that in some of the solutions that they’ve come up with. It’s not a conservative evolution, there’s some great innovation on this car.”

“We can see rival cars have been influenced by RB19, and we’re expecting other teams to converge. Obviously, the car looks quite visibly different in certain areas to last year. We know roughly what we’ve done from the shakedown at Silverstone, it seems to have – from what we can tell – behaved as we expected it to.”

“But that’s no guarantee of anything. It could be that some other team has made a bigger jump than us, we shall have to see.”

2024 Red Bull RB20 - Launch Car Stance
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