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Red Bull has shown it wants to “crush the competition”, says Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull’s aggressive design push in creating the impressive RB20 is proof of how the Formula 1 team just wants to “crush the competition.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Rather than opting for an evolutionary step on last year’s RB19, Red Bull opted for a bold concept shift that has included an eye-opening sidepod solution and Mercedes-style gulleys on its engine cover.

The new car hit the ground running in this week’s test in Bahrain with its performance being widely considered to put the Milton Keynes-based squad clear of the opposition for the start of the season.

RB driver Ricciardo, who is part of the Red Bull family, says that the determination shown this winter to improve on the already dominant RB19 is perfect proof of the killer mindset the team has.

Asked by Autosport if he was surprised at what the squad had done this winter with the RB20, Ricciardo said: “I laugh because I'm surprised, but I'm not.

“I feel it's a team that operates at its best when they're winning. I feel like when they're winning, it's like they want to just completely crush the competition.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo, RB

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“It's not like: ‘Okay, now we're winning. Let's go on holiday.’ It's like: ‘Let's really put our feet down.’ So that's where I think they've come out this year. After the most dominant season in '23, now they come out with a car that I think I was even like, 'Wow'.”

Ricciardo, who raced for Red Bull between 2014 and 2018 and is in with a shot at a return next year, says that he simply salutes the technical leadership at the squad – and especially the mindset of its chief technical officer Adrian Newey.

“I feel like they've had the most – kind of – updates out of anyone, and that's really saying something,” he said.

“Look, I love seeing Adrian near the car and that. And I don't even feel bad singling Adrian out, because I know it's more than just Adrian, but he's obviously a big part of it. And it's pretty cool to see.

“Whether I'm part of the family or not, I just – as a fan – love to see that kind of relentless approach and response to such a strong year. It's like you have to, in a way, admire it. I know, obviously, for fans watching on the couch, they're like, 'Nah, I want someone to challenge Red Bull this year'. But you have to admire their approach.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The impressive form of the RB20 in testing has already prompted some to suggest that it could help Red Bull achieve this year what it did not in 2023 – winning every race. It’s something that Ricciardo is not totally convinced can happen though.

“It seems nearly impossible,” he said. “It’s because of just how many races there are, and whether you get a wet race or not.

“Look, as much as they brought a new car to the season and I'm sure it's still going to be a race-winning car, I don't know: it's too early to be that sure that it's going to be as dominant as last year.

“They're going to win races. I'm sure they will. But I wouldn't go as far as saying yet that it's going to be unbeatable.

“I think, Formula 1 is too unpredictable [for Red Bull] to be unbeatable. I think they'll do very well but yeah, too early to have that confidence.”

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