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Toto Wolff on Red Bull’s New Concept: “The Data Will Always Guide You”

“An extremely courageous step,” Wolff said. ...

Red Bull’s new 2024 car concept has been the talk of the paddock since it was unveiled. Have they got it wrong? Why not just develop the dominant RB19? Despite these questions, Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, believes that Red Bull’s “courageous” decision has been driven by data that suggests that they’ve got it right.  

Mercedes themselves tried a similar concept in 2022 and 2023 but abandoned it after only winning one of the 44 grands prix. However, as every technical officer in the sport continues to remind us, the car’s performance is dependent not on the engine cover or sidepods, but the floor.

“Well, there are a few things that they have adopted from our car,” Wolff told ORF.

“Not just the zero sidepod, but of course we also had this bodywork engine cover, which we called ‘The Great Wall’, which they have adopted. It’s not marvellous aesthetically, but it makes sense.

“But the real performance takes place on the underfloor. These are ground-effect cars, where it’s also about the downforce and the mechanical handling characteristics.

“And that’s where they’ve been very strong in recent years, and there will probably have been a further development, but not such a radical change of concept as you can see at first glance with the bodywork.”

Wolff was frank in his assessment of Red Bull’s decisions – they wouldn’t have done it without very good reason.

“An extremely courageous step,” he added. “Because if they had proceeded conservatively, they would have developed a really good car further.

“But the data will always guide you in the development, and the data will probably have shown that what they are doing with the new car, these new developments, actually brings significantly more downforce or better handling characteristics. Because otherwise, Red Bull wouldn’t have done it.

“And they have always been innovative in recent years, they were the team that was the benchmark. And in that respect, I’m convinced that they knew what they were doing.”

While Helmut Marko confirmed that they had taken inspiration from Mercedes their interpretation wasn’t “as extreme.”

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