Max Verstappen hits back at suggestion Red Bull have copied Mercedes car

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez with the Red Bull RB20 (Photo: Getty)

Max Verstappen insists Red Bull’s 2024 car is its own thing – but understands why so many people sare saying they’ve copied Mercedes.

Red Bull became the final F1 team to unveil their car for the upcoming season on Thursday night – though the launch was overshadowed by the ongoing investigation into team boss Christian Horner.

Horner has been accused of ‘inappropriate and controlling behaviour’ by a female employee of the reigning champions, allegations the 50-year-old ‘fully denies’.

As for matters out on the track, many were surprised by the design of the RB20 car, as it was expected that it would look similar to its all conquering predecessor.

The RB19 won 21 out of 22 races in 2023, so it would be understandable if Red Bull just kept the same design for 2024.

But the RB20 is noticeably different in certain areas, with many pointing out that the car’s side pods and engine cover look similar to the Mercedes W14 that raced last year.

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was one of those to see the similarity, and when asked if he was surprised by this, he replied: ‘Yes! A bit!

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice

The RB20 bears some similarity to the Mercedes W14 (Photo: Getty)

‘But at the same time it just shows how much this team is looking to move forwards and pushing all the boundaries. It’s really great to see.’

The Dutchman himself wasn’t entirely convinced, telling reporters, ‘I would still call it a Red Bull-style. But I know what you mean.

‘I’m quite happy with the direction that they chose. I saw the drawings I think in Abu Dhabi, the last race, and I was like, “wow, that’s quite different in a way”. They’ve not been conservative, let’s say that.

‘I think what I like about the team is that we had a great package, but they took the chance to really go all out, I would say and try to make it better.

‘Of course, time will tell if it’s really, really good. But from what I see within the team everyone is just happy with what they have achieved in the winter.

‘But then again, we don’t know. We can’t control what other people did.’

Though Mercedes did finish second in the standings last season, they were far off Red Bull, with the W14 becoming the first Silver Arrow since 2011’s W02 to fail to win a single race.

Verstappen and Red Bull are the clear favourites to win the championship yet again, but as the 26-year says nothing is known until the cars hit the track with pre-season testing to take place next week ahead of the season opener in Bahrain on March 2nd.

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