The Milton Keynes-based team is officially launching its 2024 challenger at an event at its factory on Thursday and had hoped to keep the design under wraps until then, despite some early testing.
But although world champion Max Verstappen’s first laps on Tuesday took place strictly behind closed doors, video footage taken by a spectator – presumably from the hotel opposite the Silverstone pits – gave us our first glimpse of the new Red Bull. car.
While the images aren’t of high enough quality to reveal much detail about Red Bull’s changes, they do indicate that the RB20 is largely an evolution of last year’s title-winning RB19.
There appear to be some interesting areas of development, however, including the full-length channels that run down the engine cover and are similar to those on last year’s Mercedes.
Additionally, the area around the front of the sidepod appears to be a radical change from last year and has allowed for a particularly aggressive undercut to help further load the airflow into a critical area of the car .
Although Red Bull will have to limit mileage on shakedown day, it is understood that part of its run today was intended as a promotional race between the RB20 and its original RB1 from 2005.
The RB20 running at Silverstone is believed to be just the launch specification of the car, as Red Bull are known to be reluctant to reveal too much about their final racing specifications before it is necessary.
This could mean a raft of changes would be introduced either for next week’s F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain or the season opener at the Sakhir circuit, which could result in a very different look .
Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey recently said the team had chosen to stick with its basic car concept for the third year in a row because it had already proven so successful in the new era of ground effect.
Speaking to the team Talking bulls podcast on what we can expect from the RB20, Newey said: “Our car, it’s really a third evolution of the 22 car.
“Last year’s car was an evolution of 22 in its main points, which was of course the normal winter development in terms of aerodynamics, some understanding of what we needed to do with the suspension to try to improve the car as well and the weight reduction. of that, because we never reached the weight limit in ’22.
“This year’s car is the third evolution of the original RB18. What we don’t know, of course, is that the third evolution is too conservative, while others have done something different? You just don’t know.”