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Red Bull Tech Boss ‘Explicitly’ Takes a Dig on Mercedes for Cleverly Using Their Zero-Sidepod Concept

Aishwary Gaonkar
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Red Bull Tech Boss ‘Explicitly’ Takes a Dig on Mercedes for Cleverly Using Their Zero-Sidepod Concept

Red Bull stunned many people in the paddock this year during pre-season testing as they changed their car concept drastically. They certainly have shifted the bar for the 2024 season by boldly emulating Mercedes’ zero sidepod concept route. While F1 experts are debating on whether the Austrian team will fully commit to having zero sidepods on the RB20, the team’s technical director Pierre Wache has taken a dig at Mercedes who failed to nail the concept.

According to @redbulletin’s post on Twitter (now X), Wache explained to Autosport how the RB20 concept isn’t a copy of the Mercedes idea from 2022-23. The French engineer also highlighted that teams should not be “emotional” to stick to their own ideas.

He believes that one should rather stay logical to take the best ideas and try to execute them in the best way possible. About the car concept having similarities with Mercedes’ 2023 car, Wache said, “It is not exactly the same to be fair…it’s a lot better.”

The RB20 has strikingly similar high shoulders to the Mercedes’ W14 on the engine cover. This was something the Brackley team conceptualized in its 2022 car and carried over to last season’s challenger before eventually wanting to change it.

Besides this, Red Bull haven’t included a fully zero sidepod like the W13. However, their current sidepods seem like a basic version of the aggressive zero pods.

There have been reports that Red Bull may introduce mid-season upgrades to have the Mercedes-like zero pods. However, Wache’s comments make sense that they are looking to make the zero pod concept better, which Mercedes faltered with.

The Silver Arrows struggled badly for one and a half seasons before switching to having some sort of sidepods. Red Bull may be looking to inculcate their concept in the right way and ensure that they go to the right extent of aggressiveness with slimmer sidepods and higher shoulders.

Are Red Bull looking dominant again with the RB20?

As the pre-season testing concluded in Bahrain, Red Bull seemed to be the favorites once again. Despite not setting the fastest times of the test, the Milton Keynes team showed their car was the strongest among all. While the usual caveats exist since it was just testing, it applies to even Ferrari who topped the time sheets as they generally do in pre-season.

The RB20 looks like an all-rounder car once again with no chinks in its armor. To top it up, in the hands of Max Verstappen, there is likely more pace on the table that Red Bull can unlock. The Dutchman is likely to enter this weekend’s season opener in Bahrain as the favorite, having dominated the last few campaigns.

So, despite opting for Mercedes’ route of technical innovation, Red Bull look comfortable to defend their title in 2024. Mercedes most likely will not be happy if the Austrian outfit can execute their indigenous concept better this season.

About their bold RB20 concept, Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport, “Every team follows its own development direction. And the one that you think works, sets.” The Mercedes boss cited they moved away from the zero sidepod concept because it was not working for them, and thus going to a “more conservative sidepod solution” was perhaps better for them.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

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Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar

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Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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