Red Bull’s Mercedes-inspired plans come to surface ahead of 2024 F1 season

Following the reigning World Champions Red Bull’s launching event of the RB20, the Formula 1 community has been taken by surprise and awe. The Red Bull camp, and especially their fans, looks to be head over heels with the RB20 and seems super-confident ahead of the new season.

However, when other F1 rivals are trying to mimic Red Bull’s design philosophy in some way, the current F1 champions pulled off the unexpected by copying one Mercedes feature in the RB20.

Red Bull ready to use Mercedes-inspired side-pods

The design philosophy of the ‘aggressive looking’ RB20 displays Red Bull shifting away from several major trends it started in the ‘new F1 rules’ era, except in some areas which have a striking resemblance to the initial ’23 Mercedes concept.

The most notable feature of the RB20 that resembles the 2023 Mercedes design is the sidepods, which have taken the concept of closing the inlets to the extreme. The upright radiator inlet closely resembles that of the original zero sidepod Mercedes from 2022. However, unlike the 2022 Mercedes inlet, Red Bull has reshaped the vertical inlets to create a significantly large undercut at the front. This sidepod concept positions the inlets high and shields them with the upper lip (tray).

via Formula 1

This ‘extreme’ sidepods concept has given way to a new air scope, the increased volume of the engine cover and the large ‘bazookas’. All these elements will work as a whole in the RB20 to optimize its airflow and cooling operations.

A report by Motorsports states that Red Bull is planning to introduce an evolution of the zero-pod concept for their RB20 at the Japanese Grand Prix, where the temperature will be cooler. This evolutionary concept is expected to be a ‘more advanced’ version of the Mercedes-like sidepods.

It appears to be that the Red Bull engineers are ready to show off this sidepods in front of their historic rivals Mercedes and teach them how to make a car concept work, which in the case of Toto Wolff’s team, never “took off.”

Horner believes Red Bull pulled further ahead of challengers through RB20

At the RB20’s launch, Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner—who made his first public appearance amidst his ongoing RB investigation—asserted that their new car has stepped up Red Bull’s game with its great innovations.

During the launch’s media session, Horner admired Red Bull’s effort in designing the RB20. He said, “I think the team has done a wonderful job on RB20. They haven’t sat on their laurels, and you can see that they’ve pushed the boundaries with the car.”

“You’re constantly looking to evolve. If you look at the attention to detail on the car, there’s some really exquisite detail. There’s been no complacency, they’ve continued to evolve and continue to push the boundaries,” he added.

“There’s great innovation on the car as well that no doubt will be scrutinized over the coming couple of weeks, but I think creativity has been strong in the team… It’s not a conservative evolution,” Horner explained.

The RB20 and its ‘great innovations’ will be put to the test on 2nd March, as Red Bull travels to Bahrain for the season-opener Grand Prix.

Can Red Bull take off with the RB20’s Mercedes-inspired sidepods? Has it really pulled further ahead of its F1 rivals with the RB20? Let us know your opinions in the comments.

SZ Desk

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