Max Verstappen speaks out on suggestions Red Bull have copied Mercedes | F1 | Sport

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Max Verstappen speaks out on suggestions Red Bull have copied Mercedes | F1 | Sport

Max Verstappen has batted away any claims that Red Bull have copied elements of Mercedes’ last two challengers with their design of the RB20. The reigning champions attracted some interest on Thursday when they unveiled a new car that had engine gulleys similar to those on show with the W14.

Red Bull were totally dominant in 2023, winning a staggering 21 out of a possible 22 Grands Prix as the engineering marvel that was the RB19 fired Verstappen to the title. Mercedes, meanwhile, struggled to extract consistent performance from the unpredictable W14.

Therefore, after chief designer Adrian Newey stated that the RB20 would be an ‘evolution’ of the title-winning 2023 car, few expected the reigning champions to unveil a new challenger that looked to have taken inspiration from the design philosophy behind last year’s Mercedes car.

The intriguing low-profile sidepod design was an unexpected choice from Newey and the team given how Mercedes had moved away from that concept, and it will come as a greater surprise to other teams on the grid, who have pursued a design philosophy that closely aligns with the RB19 for the 2024 campaign. 

Dismissing any comments suggesting that Red Bull had copied their long-time rivals, Verstappen said: “I would still call it a Red Bull style. But I know what you mean. I’m quite happy with the direction that they chose.

“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. »

Christian Horner also brushed off any said claims, adding: “It’s not tactical, it’s based on performance and what we’re seeing through our simulation tools. 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. »

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