Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Formula 1 McLaren Imola March testing

Red Bull says RB20 F1 design was “last big roll of the dice”

Red Bull says the bold design revamp with its RB20 was the “last big roll of the dice” for the current ground effect rules in Formula 1.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

The reigning world champion team surprised rivals this year when, rather than going for a simple evolution of its dominant RB19 2023 challenger, it undertook an aggressive overhaul.

That work appears to have paid off, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finishing 1-2 in the first two races of the season.

Speaking about the motivation for the change, Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan said that the change was about ensuring there was scope to keep unlocking performance over the remainder of the rules cycles before the reset that is coming in 2026.

“If we choose to make some bigger changes on the car it opens up more options for us,” he said. “That’s part of our reason to say ‘let’s go ahead and change it more fully’.

“It’s probably the last big roll of the dice because into 2025 you have to be looking at the 2026 car.”

With teams needing to get as early a head start as possible on the 2026 rules, Monaghan says there will be decisions made soon about how to split resources into next year.

“You will see quite early on in terms of aerodynamic research if we are bumping into some limits,” he said. “At that point you have to say ‘okay, can we look at it differently and what do we need to change?’

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

“Do we need to change something again for next year which would free up an unlocked ergometry that shows some promise, but we can’t get on to this year’s car? You’ll start to see that probably now.

“It’s just whether you say a bigger change for next year is viable, realistic, financially achievable and do we have the resources to do it? That we’ll find out.”

Monaghan said that early analysis of the RB20 had indicated that there remained plenty of scope to make it better, which will make the challenge for its rivals to catch up so much harder.

“At the moment gains are still there,” he said. “Magnitude wise at the moment we can find similar gains to last year. I suspect towards the end of the year it may well diminish a bit, but we’ve got some brilliantly creative people and if they find it, then we’ll take it. It’s as simple as that.”

Read Also:

But while the RB20 looks visually very different to its predecessor, especially with its sidepods and engine cover gulleys, Monaghan says it is not as radical a step as some have suggested.

“The magnitude of evolution, if you watch it visually, isn’t necessarily indicative of what we have achieved in terms of lap time,” he said. “You have to make it stable.

“It’s not good having a peaky car that is behaving itself in one aspect of the track and not in others. To my mind we had a pretty good car last year and to drift a long way from that for greater risks, it seems an unwise choice.

“An evolution of what we had last year, if we put enough in it to keep ourselves quicker than the opposition, then it's the right thing to do."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Wolff doesn't want to fall into Horner "trap" over Red Bull F1 dominance
Next article Did secret contract move open door for potential Verstappen Red Bull F1 exit?

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe