Chris Horner Acknowledges High Expectations for Red Bull’s RB20: The Pressure to Fill ‘Big Shoes’.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner expresses confidence in the development of the 2024 car, RB20, under the new F1 ground effect regulations. However, he acknowledges the substantial expectations set by the previous successful model, RB19, which dominated in the past two seasons, securing consecutive Constructors’ and Drivers’ championships. Despite a rare defeat in 2023, Red Bull’s technical superiority and Max Verstappen’s skill enabled them to outperform competitors in the majority of races.

As Red Bull’s rivals exert continuous efforts to narrow the gap with the reigning world champions, they anticipate another dominant display from the Milton Keynes-based team, benefiting from the stability of F1’s rule book. Horner affirms that Red Bull is diligently refining “all aspects” of its RB19, with the goal of augmenting its performance and preserving its competitive advantage.

Nevertheless, despite encouraging early development assessments and positive results from simulator work, the individual remains cautious due to the unpredictable nature of Formula 1. They prefer to approach the upcoming season with a sense of prudence.

When questioned by Planet F1 about whether the initial targets set by Red Bull for the new RB20 design were being met, Horner responded: “I think as far as targets can be, yes”

“We don’t have a lot of pre-seasons testing these days, we’ve got a lot to focus on and to get done, but it’s always a busy time of year in the factory in the planning stage for the season ahead.

“There are always challenges along the way but, if you’re not on the limit, you’re not trying hard enough,” he added.

Red Bull simulator driver Jake Dennis issued a warning to the team’s competitors, delivering early and highly positive feedback on the RB20.

Horner emphasizes that the true potential of the new car will only become clear through a comprehensive on-track test.

He further explained “[The sim drivers] are saying it’s evolution, not revolution – it’s a simulator, and still a virtual world,”

“So, of course, you want a correlation between track and simulator, which has tended to be reasonable over the last couple of years.

“Hopefully, we’re making progress. But the stopwatch never lies and we’ll only see when we get to the track.”

Verstappen and Red Bull’s CTO Adrian Newey have highlighted specific areas of improvement needed in last year’s car. Horner confirmed that thorough attention has been dedicated to addressing weaknesses beneath the car’s hood.

“Only time will tell, I mean, the RB19 is the most successful car in the history of Formula 1, so [RB20] has got big shoes to fill,” he commented.

“But there are always things that you’re learning in this business.

“RB19 still had elements that we could improve and the team have been working hard to do that and

address that over the winter in the design phase.”

When it came to potential improvements, Horner, in his typical fashion, hesitated to make bold predictions about the extent of gains Red Bull might have achieved with its new car.

“I think it’s impossible to quantify,” he said. “Let’s see when we go to the track.

“It’s all meaningless if somebody has made a leapfrog and you’re three-tenths behind. It’s all subjective at this time of year.

“I’m sure that everybody is focused on trying to beat us this year, and why wouldn’t they be?

“We can only focus on ourselves; the factory is very busy at the moment as we gear up for a big year with a record number of available events and races.”