Marko expects Red Bull’s Mercedes concept to ‘work well’

Wed, 21 February 2024, 08:00

Feb.21 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko admits Red Bull has taken a risk by preparing a new car for 2024 that strongly resembles the failed and scrapped Mercedes concept of 2022 and 2023.

Most Formula 1 insiders were stunned, given Red Bull’s utter dominance in the current ground effect era so far, that the team didn’t simply unveil a logical evolution of the concept that has now been so widely emulated up and down pitlane.

“It is more than an evolution, it is a small revolution and it is the basis of what will be used in 2024,” top team consultant Marko told Servus TV.

Indeed, many are expecting Red Bull to even try the ‘zero sidepods’ solution that Mercedes completely abandoned mid-way through last season.

“If we look at the simulation and wind tunnel data, it (the concept) worked very well,” Marko says.

“Mercedes was also convinced by the data of their concept, but in practice it didn’t work at all,” he acknowledged. “We will see now in the tests whether we have been able to implement this solution – or, let’s say, a similar solution – successfully.”

However, he insists that Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s renowned technical guru, “has always favoured cars without radiators, although clearly and logically this isn’t something you can ask of the engine engineers”.

“We don’t have as extreme a solution as Mercedes, but we follow a similar direction in the concept,” Marko, 80, added.

Former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde thinks Red Bull may simply have discovered that Mercedes “just executed” the different car concept “wrong”.

“I think it’s really cool that Newey and the people around him can think of this and have the idea ‘we’ll take it to the next level’,” he told the DRS De Race Show podcast.

However, van der Garde agrees that Red Bull is taking a risk, especially as the 2024 car doesn’t just have innovative vertical air inlets, but ones that are “almost closed” completely.

“I don’t know how they are going to do their cooling, so I hope they won’t have too many problems with that,” said the Dutchman. “But they have found something, otherwise they will never make it work.”

It may, therefore, be a risk worth taking in a field that has now largely converged with the basic 2022-2023 Red Bull concept.

“You have to continue developing – you have to find something new,” he said. “If you do nothing, you are stagnant. So they built a car that was a rocket and the other teams have recreated it.

“Now Red Bull is saying ‘Hey guys, we’ve come up with something new again’,” van der Garde enthused. “And the other teams will be thinking ‘What the f*** is this? How are we going to achieve that?'”

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