Honda astonished by 'unbelievable' changes to Red Bull 2024 car

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Honda admits it was “surprised” by the magnitude of the changes undertaken by Red Bull on its 2024 design after its record-breaking 2023 campaign.

Red Bull's dominance last year in Formula 1 was nothing short of remarkable. With a staggering 21 Grand Prix victories out of 22 races, the team secured an unparalleled level of success.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit’s hegemony was such that it was able to shift its focus early towards its 2024 contender and opt for significant design changes rather than incremental updates.

But the RB20’s bold evolution, which required significant installation adjustments to accommodate Honda’s power unit, surprised even the Japanese manufacturer.

Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe expressed genuine surprise at the scale of an undertaking that has once again delivered handsome dividends for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen winning four of the five races held year-to-date.

"For this year's Red Bull car, we were very surprised to see that they changed so much for the RB20," Watanabe told

"Last year we won 21 out of the 22 races together, but they still changed the concept. It is unbelievable!

"They made a lot of requests to adapt our engine to the new concept for the RB20. After we saw the RB20 in real life we were so surprised by all the changes that they made."

A freeze on Formula 1’s engine regulations until 2026 precludes manufacturers from developing their units. However, reliability work is allowed.

Watanabe explained that Honda’s efforts on that front provided Red Bull with “more freedom” in terms of the RB20’s overall design.

"Of course, we cannot increase the power [under the engine freeze], but we can adapt the engine to the new machine," said the Honda engineer.

"Apart from that, we can also improve the reliability of the engine. That is what we have done over the past winter.

"This has given Red Bull more freedom for their design and for their aerodynamic concept. That is why they could change the position of the oil coolers, radiators, etcetera.

"Sometimes last year we had a risk to damage the power unit that did not become big trouble in the end, but we always need to minimise the risk.

"That is why we have made our best effort to improve the reliability of the engine even further for this year."

Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe

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