Coulthard’s Initial Impressions of RB20 Debut at Silverstone

Ex-F1 racer David Coulthard has shared his thoughts on Red Bull Racing's inaugural outing with their latest vehicle, the RB20, at Silverstone.

Mark Phelan

By Mark Phelan
Updated on February 20, 2024

David Coulthard Red Bull

At the home of the British Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing conducted the first test of their new 2024 car the RB20, ahead of its global unveiling two days later. The team’s ambition is clear: to secure the championship titles once again, marking their third consecutive triumph.

Despite the RB20 featuring several significant modifications from its predecessor, the RB19, which dominated the 2023 season, the test session — a mix of wet and dry conditions — proceeded without a hitch, as reported by Coulthard. Coulthard, who competed for Red Bull from their inaugural season in 2005 until 2008, was present during the RB20’s launch event, having been interviewed by Formula1.com.

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When asked about insights from the car’s first run and the impressions Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez shared with him post-test, Coulthard highlighted: “Just that it functions as you would expect in those conditions – no surprises.

“I think the technical team were happy with the numbers they were getting in terms of… the things you can get out of that, the cooling and load sensors.”

“I think the technical team were happy with the numbers they were getting in terms of… the things you can get out of that, the cooling and load sensors.”

He continued: “Even if you went out and thought the car was amazing in a shakedown, the only thing that matters is Saturday qualifying and ultimately Sunday race [at the first round] in Bahrain.

“It’s a launch iteration… there will be upgrades coming to the test up until the last day and there might even be an upgrade that comes for the Friday of the Bahrain race, and all of these upgrades are expected to change performance, balance and lap time.”

Coulthard, with a Formula 1 career spanning teams like Williams and McLaren and boasting 13 Grand Prix wins, then speculated on which teams could pose a significant challenge to Red Bull in the upcoming season.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but you’ve got to believe Ferrari had a strong car last year in terms of single-lap pace,” he said. “If they’ve managed to improve on whatever it was that was making their race pace difficult then they are a real contender.

Mercedes were making big strides at the end of the year… McLaren, again, back of the grid in Bahrain, pretty much at the front of the grid in Abu Dhabi, so huge growth during the course of the year.”

Initial insights will emerge as Red Bull and the rest of the Formula 1 lineup convene on the track for the first collective test in Bahrain this week, with pre-season testing set to take place from February 21 to 23.

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Mark is a staff writer specialising in the history of Formula 1 races. Mark researches most of our historic content from teams to drivers and races. He has followed Formula 1 since 1988, and admits to having a soft spot for British drivers from James Hunt and Nigel Mansell to Lando Norris. He loves a great F1 podcast and has read pretty much every drivers biography.

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