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What we already know about Red Bull’s new F1 car

Red Bull's launch of its new Formula 1 car is just around the corner, with the RB20 set to be officially unveiled this Thursday. But what do we already know about the new Red Bull challenger?

Verstappen win Abu Dhabi 2023
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Since the technical regulation changes in 2022, Red Bull has been a dominant force in Formula 1.

Two years ago, Red Bull won 17 out of 22 races with the RB18 before going on an even more dominant run last year. Only Carlos Sainz could keep the Austrian team from a clean sweep of wins, as with the RB19, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez won 21 out of 22 Grand Prix.

Verstappen closed out last season's campaign with seven consecutive victories and will be hunting to continue that run at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at the start of March.

But with which car will he aim to do so? The new challenger will be unveiled on Thursday, but already some details have emerged regarding the RB20.

'Third evolution'

Starting with the car's livery, there is little surprise that the Red Bull colour scheme will remain unchanged, having gone through only a very minor revolution during its history.

During a livestream earlier this month, Verstappen stated that the car is “going to look exactly the same”.

We also now know what the new Red Bull Powertrains engine sounds like, as sister team RB already gave fans a preview of the noise - that engine will also be used by the front-running Red Bull squad.

Red Bull chief designer Adrian Newey revealed in the team's Talking Bull podcast the dilemmas Red Bull faced in developing the new car.

"Last year's car was an evolution of 2022 in its main points being of course, the normal winter development in terms of aerodynamics, some understanding on what we needed to do with suspension to try to improve the car as well, and getting weight out of it, because we never got down to the weight limit in 2022,” he said.

"This year's car is the third evolution of that original RB18. What we don't know, of course, is the third evolution too conservative, while others have done something different? You just don't know.”

In early January, it was revealed that Red Bull had failed a crash test relating to the front of the car.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko responded humorously to the situation: "Laughable. If we had passed the first crash test, that would be precisely a problem,” he told F1-Insider. “Then we would have failed!"

The failed crash test may actually be a warning to the competition, as Red Bull once again pushes the limits within the current regulations.

Focus on 2024

From the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix in mid-September, the focus at Red Bull was already fully on 2024. No major updates were seen at Red Bull last year, allowing all the lessons and concepts learned to be saved up.

If the continued development work is carried out over the winter break and the team does come up with updates in 2024, it could once again see Red Bull hold a sizeable advantage over the competition.

Then again, the rules dictate that those who are leading the field get less development time than their rivals in the hope closing up the competition, and additionally, there exists a possibility that Red Bull gets to a stage with the regulations where it can no longer find big gains, allowing its rivals to close in.

“We've seen competitors come in closer at different venues and I'm sure concepts will converge,” said Team Principal Christian Horner.

“Stable regulations always concertina, so I don't think we'll ever be able to repeat the season that we've had. But hopefully we can take the lessons from RB19 and apply to RB20, and come up with a car that can defend these titles."

'Boring season'

Expectations at Red Bull are still high for the upcoming year. Test driver Jake Dennis already forecast another dominant campaign.

“I would expect us to become champions again, unless someone like Ferrari or Mercedes somehow manages to find about a second [per lap] overnight,” he said. “I think it's going to be quite a dull season in Formula 1 with Max probably dominating."

What the Red Bull car will really look like, we'll have to wait a few more days to find out. But for Verstappen, it won't matter very much what the car will look like, as long as it is fast enough to add his fourth world title.

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