Newey: Subtle bits people haven't noticed responsible for RB20 gains

Newey: Subtle bits people haven’t noticed responsible for RB20 gains

Newey: Subtle bits people haven't noticed responsible for RB20 gains

Adrian Newey claims that the minor adjustments to the Red Bull RB20 are what has given the team the edge again in 2024.

The Red Bull Chief Technical Officer has yet again produced a dominant car for the current campaign. Star driver Max Verstappen has won all the races so far, while teammate Sergio Perez has seen the chequered flag in P2 directly behind.

Many thought it impossible for the Milton Keynes-based outfit to match the dominance of the RB19 used in last year’s season, and thus there was an expectation that the team would keep the design the same apart from a few tweaks here and there.

Instead, Newey masterminded a radically different aerodynamic design for the successor RB20. While featuring many of its own unique elements, a similarity to Mercedes’ 2023 challenger, the W14, was quickly pointed out. Both cars have an aggressively down sloping sidepod shape and a particularly prominent engine cover.

Nevertheless, Newey was keen to point out that apart from the immediately obvious changes to the RB20, it is actually the invisible tweaks that have made the most difference to the performance of the car.

The small bits make big gains on track

Newey: Subtle bits people haven't noticed responsible for RB20 gains

Speaking on Formula 1’s F1 Nation Podcast, Newey stated that while everyone was focussed on the radical aerodynamic philosophy change to the RB20, it wasn’t the most advantageous adjustment made for 2024.

The legendary designer said: “The underlying architecture of the car is the third-generation evolution of what started as the RB18, where, apart from the radiators, we carry everything: layout of the front suspension, the rear suspension, the gearbox, the casing – it’s a third evolution of the RB18.

“The bits that are visible, that have caused quite a lot of attention, obviously we’re pursuing aerodynamic gains there. The visual change is actually much larger than the performance change you get from that. The other, much more subtle bits that people haven’t noticed are probably responsible for a bigger gain.”

Newey then eluded to perhaps the only deficiency of 2023’s RB19, where it struggled for balance around the Marina Bay Street Circuit used for the Singapore Grand Prix.

He continued: “What we’ve tried to achieve is a car that is reasonably well-suited to all circuits. I think typically, last year, the circuits that we had less of an advantage on were the maximum downforce street tracks.

“Singapore, obviously, we famously made a bit of a mess of and underperformed to what we could have achieved. We could have certainly achieved podiums there had we got our act together a bit better.

“But it’s certainly true to say that those circuits are the ones that we probably have less advantage on. As long as we’re not disastrous on them, then maybe that’s good enough,” Newey concluded.

Singapore was famously the only event that Red Bull failed to win during that record-breaking year; can they go one better and win all 24 races in 2024? Their quest continues at the Australian Grand Prix, which commences at 04:00 GMT (15:00 local time) on March 24th.