Adrian Newey explains the reason for Red Bull not exploring Mercedes’ zero-sidepod concept

Mercedes eventually shifted to Adrian Newey-designed RB-19 sidepod concept.


Adrian Newey explains the reason for Red Bull not exploring Mercedes’ zero-sidepod concept

Adrian Newey [L], Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff [R], (images via IMAGO)

Red Bull has dominated Formula 1 since the start of the ground-effect era in 2022. The Austrian team developed the right design concept that has brought it staggering success. However, Mercedes had come up with a radical zero-sidepod concept last season that caught the eye of the entire paddock. Now, Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey has revealed why the team did not look into this design.

Newey mentioned that Red Bull‘s aero concept and design were completely different from that of Mercedes. This posed the question of whether the Austrian team should explore this direction in the future. However, the 64-year-old claimed that the team’s gut feeling was to stick with its own design.

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Adrian Newey told F1’s Beyond the Grid, “Obviously with last year’s car we took an aerodynamic direction… which was almost polar opposite to what Mercedes did. And gut feeling was, let’s stick with what we’re doing.”

The Briton highlighted the fact that Mercedes’ underlying architecture was different from Red Bull’s concept. Newey focused on the front and rear suspensions as these could not be altered significantly over the course of a season. As such, the 64-year-old reckoned that a flaw in the architecture of Mercedes’ zero-sidepods would’ve severely hampered the efforts of the Austrian team.

The Red Bull CTO said, “If you get the bodywork wrong, within reason, you can change it during a season. But if you get the underlying architecture wrong, at the very least you stuck with it for one season.”

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Also Read: Adrian Newey admits to having ’emotional regrets’ for not working with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso

Adrian Newey’s RB-19 remains unmatched

Red Bull enjoyed a decent pace advantage by the end of the 2022 season with the RB-18. Max Verstappen in the end won a staggering 15 races that year. However, the successor to the RB-18 proved to be an even more dominant machine courtesy of the efforts put in by Adrian Newey’s team at Milton Keynes. The RB-19 has been the fastest car for almost all races this year.

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Sergio Perez driving the Red Bull RB-19 (Credits: @@formularacers_/Twitter)
Sergio Perez driving the Red Bull RB-19 (Credits: @@formularacers_/Twitter)

Barring the Singapore GP, the Adrian Newey-designed RB-19 has been the car to beat on the grid in 2023. Verstappen went on to win 11 back-to-back races behind the wheel of this beast. However, the Marina Bay Circuit highlighted some weak points of the car that Red Bull would be working to fix. Although, the Austrian team was back on top at the following race in Japan.

Certainly, Adrian Newey has continued to contribute massively to Red Bull’s efforts to win in F1. The 64-year-old’s work led to the team’s sixth Constuctors’ title coming home at the Japanese GP last weekend. However, Newey and his team would continue to look for more areas to develop the RB-19 in a bid to extract more pace out of the car.

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