Mercedes’ James Allison Lauds Red Bull’s Daring RB20 Design

James Allison of Mercedes expressed admiration for Red Bull’s bold approach to their RB20 design for the 2024 season.

Red Bull has introduced a significantly altered RB20 design, departing from the direct development path of their overwhelmingly successful RB19 – a surprising strategy considering their dominance over competitors in 2023.

Mercedes has also chosen a transformative path with their latest W15 model. Technical director James Allison commented on the strikingly innovative strategy Red Bull adopted upon unveiling their new design.

Having experienced the challenge of developing cars to succeed dominant seasons, Red Bull’s choice to venture into a new design direction with the RB20 intrigued James Allison, especially after its debut on the Bahrain track.

In a conversation with journalists, before the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Allison was queried about his views on Red Bull’s latest design. The British engineer acknowledged the move as a courageous step by the defending World Champions.

“Mostly, I thought that, when a team is out in front as they have been, it’s quite easy to rest on your laurels,” he said.

“I thought ‘bravo to them’ for being willing to do something that is not just a straightforward iteration of the previous season.

With Red Bull incorporating elements from Mercedes’ previously discarded ‘zeropod’ concept into their design, Allison was questioned whether he thinks Red Bull’s new design path validates some of Mercedes’ past design choices.

Allison remarked: “No, I don’t think so, I mean, I think that you could go up and down this pit lane and take the engine cover shape of every car on the grid and put it on every other car on the grid, and it wouldn’t make a hill of beans difference.

“What will be interesting is what they’ve done underneath that engine cover. So what they’re using that volume for, but the external shape is neither here nor there.

“We changed last year from the layout of the side pods…The bits that you see are the bits I guess that we end up talking about.

“We changed away last year, mostly so we didn’t have to die wondering whether or not that was something that was hurting us – ultimately, it didn’t make a huge amount of difference.”