F1 News, Reports and Race Results

Marko hails ‘very impressive’ RB20 debut: ‘The concept is working’

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko qualified as “very impressive” the opening day performance of Red Bull Racing’s new RB20 in pre-season testing in Bahrain.

After the team’s record-setting championship winning campaign in 2023, with Max Verstappen claiming a third successive title, the widespread belief was that Red Bull would field a mild evolution of its ultra-dominant RB19.

But the Milton Keynes-based outfit Red Bull has thrown down the gauntlet to its rivals with a swathe of unexpected technical innovations for its 2024 challenger.

And based on Verstappen’s strong pace on the opening day of running in Bahrain, the new car’s concept is so far working to perfection according to Marko.

"Very, very, very impressive,” said the Austrian. “We ran 142 laps, without any problems, more or less. And the concept is working. So that was the first main thing. The car is reacting, and we are developing. Yeah, it looks good.

“Whatever changes we did and whatever we tried, the car was reacting, and more or less it was fine-tuning, what happened now. We all were smiling a lot.”

Marko acknowledged that opting not to take a conservative approach to the design of a new car always carries an element of risk.

"I mean, it's always a risk,” he said. “And if you look at Mercedes, they had some problems, and our car was working from the very first lap. So we are very proud and glad.

“Also, the reliability is unbelievable. And [from] what I saw tyre-performance-wise, again, Ferrari has more problems than us.

“Also, the McLaren seems to be a little bit more nervous. Mercedes, I don't know what they did. For sure they are faster than what they have shown. But we can be confident."

©RedBull

When questioned about whether he anticipated a greater improvement from Red Bull’s rivals, Marko offered a pointed response.

"I think they didn't expect what we would do,” he said. “How should I say? The cars all look like [ours from] last year."

As for other teams copying Red Bull’s RB20, Marko said: "It takes a while to do such a concept."

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Phillip van Osten

Motor racing was a backdrop from the outset in Phillip van Osten's life. Born in Southern California, Phillip grew up with the sights and sounds of fast cars thanks to his father, Dick van Osten, an editor and writer for Auto Speed and Sport and Motor Trend. Phillip's passion for racing grew even more when his family moved to Europe and he became acquainted with the extraordinary world of Grand Prix racing. He was an early contributor to the monthly French F1i Magazine, often providing a historic or business perspective on Formula 1's affairs. In 2012, he co-authored along with fellow journalist Pierre Van Vliet the English-language adaptation of a limited edition book devoted to the great Belgian driver Jacky Ickx. He also authored "The American Legacy in Formula 1", a book which recounts the trials and tribulations of American drivers in Grand Prix racing. Phillip is also a commentator for Belgian broadcaster Be.TV for the US Indycar series.

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