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Andrea Stella

McLaren boss explains 'wow' moment about 'brave' Red Bull

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has been left impressed following the revelation of the radically redesigned Red Bull RB20.

Verstappen Piastri Bahrain
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has tipped his hat to Red Bull's “brave” changes to the RB20.

Red Bull unveiled a radically different car concept for the upcoming season earlier this month after dominating last year's campaign, winning all but one race during the year.

The Milton Keynes-based squad has installed major changes to its sidepod area with narrow inlets noted, drawing comparisons to the failed concept launched by Mercedes in 2022.

After boasting such a major advantage over the field last year, it was able to switch focus to its successor much earlier than its rivals.

As a result, Red Bull is again favourite for the upcoming season, with Stella conceding he was shocked when he first saw its details.

“I have to say when I saw the car, I was like ‘Wow’!,” Stella told media including RacingNews365.

“They certainly were brave to change in some of the shapes that made that car so successful last year.

“Like I said before, I think they could enjoy such an advantage last year that it gave them the confidence from a timeline point of view to take some risks because they can take these risks early on to actually see whether it works.

“What I would say though is that while there is innovation that we can see microscopically, in these regulations a lot is in the millimetres and a lot happens in work we don't see between the underneath of the car and the ground.

“So while what we can actually see could be the most visible, it’s not necessarily the most impactful in terms of the step forward they made.”

'Red Bull look very strong'

Red Bull topped the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain with Max Verstappen boasting a sizeable gap over the competition.

Stella was outspoken last year over his concerns regarding Red Bull's ability to switch focus to its car early with very few developments being installed on the RB19.

When asked if his fears are being realised, Stella added: “I would say [there are] two elements.

“First of all, car design. There’s some element of significant evolution on that car that certainly required time to be developed.

“The second element is performance itself - it looks like they are very strong.

“So it looks like what they wanted to achieve from a design point of view also delivered what predominantly seems to be aerodynamic performance.”

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