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Christian Horner ahead of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 26, 2023.

Horner: Red Bull Mercedes-style RB20 not to stir the pot

The Austrian team released official images of its RB20, with it noticeably having features looking like the Mercedes W14

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner emphasises its decision to go with a Mercedes-style approach is only for performance purposes.

Red Bull, RB20, Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez
The RB20’s sidepods noticeably looks like Mercedes’ W14 (Image Credit: @redbullracing on X)

Red Bull revealed its RB20 on Thursday, after already testing the car around the Silverstone circuit. The reveal caused a lot of discussion on how the RB20 looked a lot like Mercedes’ W14 from last year.

The design Mercedes had was abandoned due to the German team not finding much performance. The Silver Arrows, themselves, raised eyebrows when they unveiled its 2023 car, showing a ‘no sidepod’ design.

Although Mercedes had already abandoned the idea, it has not stopped Red Bull from trying it. The Austrian team were dominant last season, breaking multiple records in the process.

The expectation was for the Milton Keynes-based outfit to stick with its design from 2023 and just evolve it. However, the team has done the exact opposite, trying a completely new concept.

Trying to find even more performance

Red Bull were in a league of its own last season. No other constructor could get close to the Austrian team. The team and Max Verstappen broke multiple records.

Despite this, the Milton Keynes-based outfit are still motivated to try and find further lap time, extending the gap to its rivals.

Horner emphasises that the change in concept is not to try and bait opposing teams, but is purely on looking for even more imnprovements in lap time:

“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 a virtual world we wouldn’t have committed to this design if we didn’t feel it was better.”

Red Bull, RB20, Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez
The concept has changed significantly from lat year’s dominant RB19 (Image Credit: @ChrisMedlandF1 on X)
Still a Red Bull-style

Three-time world champion Max Verstappen was also asked on the RB20′ similarity to last year’s Mercedes. Although he understands the point, the Dutchman says he would still refer it as a Red Bull-style concept.

The 26-year-old also praised the team’s technical chiefs on still trying to find more lap time, despite having the dominant RB19 last year.

“I’m quite happy with the direction that they chose,” he said. “I saw the drawings I think in Abu Dhabi, the last race, and I was like, ‘wow, that’s quite different in a way’. They’ve not been conservative, let’s say it 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 other people did.”

Feature Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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