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Red Bull insists it isn't baiting with Mercedes-style RB20 F1 car solutions

Red Bull says its shift towards Mercedes-style solutions on its new RB20 Formula 1 car was not to stir the pot with its rival, but purely about chasing more performance.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal

Red Bull Content Pool

The Milton Keynes-based squad raised eyebrows at the unveiling of its 2024 F1 challenger on Thursday night as it emerged with several concepts that Mercedes has previously used and abandoned.

This includes the full-length engine gulleys that are reminiscent of the 2023 Mercedes, plus an extreme version of sidepods that is not totally removed from the zero-pod concept that its German manufacturer competitor raced before abandoning.

Ahead of a season where rivals have converged a lot more on Red Bull's previous designs, the new direction for the world champions - going to what its rivals have abandoned - is intriguing.

PLUS: The Mercedes-like design decisions in Red Bull's follow-up to an F1 world-beater

But team boss Christian Horner says the inspiration for the move has not been based on baiting the opposition, but purely on seeking solutions that deliver lap time.

"It's not tactical, it's based on performance and what we're seeing through our simulation tools," said Horner.

"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."

World champion Max Verstappen did not agree that Red Bull had gone down a Mercedes-style solution with its car: "I would still call it a Red Bull style. But I know what you mean!"

Red Bull Racing RB20

Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Red Bull Racing

But he did praise the efforts that the team's technical chiefs had made to be aggressive with the changes from last year's dominant RB19.

"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."

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Horner said that while the car did have some evolutionary aspects from its 2023 challenge, a lot of big changes had been made.

"I think there's great innovation on the car as well that no doubt will be scrutinised over the coming couple of weeks," he said. "I think creativity has been strong in the team.

"You can see that in some of the solutions that they've come up with. So, it's not a conservative evolution. There's some great innovation."

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