Red Bull: Imitating Our F1 Car Design Won’t Bridge Gap for Rivals

Red Bull emphasises that simply replicating its F1 car design won't help rival teams to catch up during 2024 season.


By Ben Bush
Updated on January 16, 2024

Pierre Wache on F1 Car Design

Following Red Bull’s overwhelming success in the 2023 F1 season, there’s an expectation that its rivals will adopt a similar design approach that the Milton Keynes-based team has effectively utilised since the inception of the latest ground effect era.

In theory, this shift should lead to a more competitive 2024 season, particularly as many of Red Bull’s main competitors had previously misjudged their car designs. However, Pierre Wache, technical director at Red Bull, believes that other teams need to do more than just mimic their design.

READ MORE: Red Bull Sets Date for 2024 Formula 1 Season Launch

Wache argues that understanding the underlying reasons behind their design decisions is key to achieving high performance, rather than just copying the design superficially.

“I think it’s possible to copy, but in every business in the world, when it’s technical, the ‘how’ is one aspect,” he told Autosport. “The most important aspect is ‘why’.

“If you don’t know ‘why’, you can copy whatever you want, but it’s better to stay with what you understand.”

Wache acknowledged that imitating concepts from other teams is a regular practice in Formula 1, and something that his team engages in occasionally.

He noted that while this approach could offer opportunities for advancement in their own car design, there’s no certainty that a strategy effective for one team would yield similar benefits for others.

“We also copy some stuff,” he said. “We [might] copy the wrong thing, but you [also] inspire yourself based on what you see from others.

“It’s like a Darwin effect, this business. You see something from others, you add another idea to it and you develop and you grow your concept, your strengths and your capacity.

“But, every time, it has to be on the understanding aspect. If you just copy for copying’s sake, it doesn’t work.

“You [need to] have the knowledge and also what you want to achieve. If you don’t have the same golden aim of characteristics, it doesn’t bring anything.”

Wache also believes it’s a mistake to consider last year’s RB19 as the ideal car, pointing out that there were aspects requiring improvement.

Despite its impressive record of winning 21 out of 22 races in the 2023 season, he emphasises that performance in Formula 1 is always measured in relation to other competitors.

“You can have the same car and the others do a better job than you,” he said.

“We put everything together. The car has some weaknesses, but not a big one. [It’s] quite efficient in terms of downforce versus drag. That’s clearly a key and also [it’s] quite gentle on tyres for the race pace.

“That, I think, is one of the key [elements], because if you look at qualifying we didn’t do all the poles. We just won all the races [bar one].

“The dominance also depends on what the others did. Maybe the others made some mistakes to develop their car, because when you see the level of development that McLaren put together during the season, and the capacity they have to be closer to us with quite a bad start to the season, you say maybe the others didn’t put the car together.”

READ MORE: Adrian Newey On More Active Aero in F1

He added: “Dominance is very dependent also on the others, I would say. I don’t want to put pressure on the others… We did a good job, but we have plenty of room for improvement I would say.”

Source: Autosport
Quotes: from Alex Kalinauckas/Ronald Vording

Seen in:

About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

Latest Reads