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Red Bull reveal major changes to 2024 F1 car on first day of testing

Red Bull have confirmed major changes to their 2024 F1 car on the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

At their launch event in Milton Keynes last week, the RB20 surprised onlookers with a fresh design despite their dominance last year.

Red Bull won 21 out of 22 races in 2023 but despite their near-perfect performance, Adrian Newey and his team of designers have replenished their package, instead of persevering with a similar concept.

Red Bull’s new design – with vertical sidepod inlets and a tall engine cover – has similarities with the “zero-sidepod” direction Mercedes took in the past two years; a concept the Silver Arrows have now moved away from.

Max Verstappen took to the car on day one of testing and was the fastest man following the first four hours of running, seven-tenths quicker than nearest challenger Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.

The RB20 also revealed its cooling arrangement, with horizontal and vertical inlets on its sidepods. There are also inlets either side of the rollover hoop above the cockpit for further cooling.

Verstappen, at last week’s launch, acknowledged the similarity of this year’s challenger with Mercedes’ recent cars: “I would still call it a Red Bull style... but I know what you mean.”

Max Verstappen finished fastest in the opening session on the first day (PA Wire)
Max Verstappen finished fastest in the opening session on the first day (PA Wire)
The RB20 has many features similar to Mercedes’ 2022 and 2023 car, especially the sidepods (Getty Images)
The RB20 has many features similar to Mercedes’ 2022 and 2023 car, especially the sidepods (Getty Images)

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who is still under investigation after allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” from a female colleague, elaborated on the design last week.

“There’s some great innovation on the car as well that will no doubt get scrutinised over the coming weeks,” Horner said.

“Creativity has been strong in the team. You can see that in some of the solutions that they’ve come up with. It’s not a conservative evolution, there’s some great innovation on the car.”

“Obviously the car looks quite visibly different in certain areas to last year. Only the stopwatch will tell, but in the virtual world, we wouldn’t have committed it to design if we didn’t feel it was better.”

Red Bull are the unquestionable favourites again this year, with Verstappen targeting a fourth straight championship which would put him level with ex-Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel.