F1 LIVE:Helmut Marko admits big Red Bull questions after Mercedes’ past failure

With Red Bull’s new-look RB20 drawing “ideas” from yesteryear’s Mercedes, Helmut Marko admits only time will tell if Red Bull can make those Mercedes-styled parts work for them.


When Mercedes dropped their zero-pods early last season, failing to win a single Grand Prix, team boss Toto Wolff vowed to change every component on the car ahead of this year’s championship.


Mercedes did just that, even changing the driver’s seating position in the car, while incorporating several innovations led by their legality wire front wing.


Can Red Bull make the Mercedes design elements work on the RB20?


For Red Bull, given their dominance with 21 wins from 22 Grands Prix, the RB20 was expected to be more of an evolution than a revolution.


As such the Milton Keynes squad surprised many in the paddock when they put a very different RB20 on the track with the car sporting 2023 Mercedes-styled gulleys on the engine cover, as well as sidepod inlets similar to Mercedes’ scrapped zero-pod design.



It is fair to say the RB20 and the W15 are the two cars that everyone is keeping a close eye on in testing.


Marko acknowledges the latest Adrian Newey design is “a small revolution”, definitely “more than an evolution”.


But telling ServusTV that Red Bull did get the “ideas” from Mercedes, he says Red Bull’s intepretation is “not as extreme” as what Mercedes ran in the past.


It was something, though, that did “very well” in the team’s simulation prompting Red Bull to adopt the design elements.


He, however, admits it could yet turn out that Red Bull too have been tricked by what they saw in the wind tunnel as Mercedes were.



“They were also convinced by the data of their sidepod concept,” he added. “In practice, it didn’t work at all.”


“And we will now see in the tests whether we can successfully implement this solution, or let’s say a similar solution.”



He added: “Adrian Newey would always like to have cars without radiators. Of course, that’s not possible for the engineers [to carry out the idea], but it’s logical.”


Earlier this week former Aston Martin strategist Bernie Collins also raised the possibility of Red Bull having a “miss” with the data as Mercedes did.


“The worry is, and we obviously know Adrian Newey and the Red Bull team are very, very good, strong aerodynamic designers, they have proven that year after year, but Mercedes obviously felt it could work when they put that on the first car,” she told Sky Sports.



“They obviously had enough simulation data, and aero data, and all of these things to say this car is the best we can do.


“So something is amiss between what they thought that car could do, and what it could actually do, and have Red Bull done the miss in the other direction?”


She added: “I’m just surprised that they’ve gone with it. So they’ve clearly – if they go with it, they’ve clearly seen something that means they think they can beat their previous-developed car.”



Gideon Canice

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