F1 chief cautions rivals against ‘copying’ Max Verstappen’s record-breaking RB19

The Red Bull challenger RB19 set new benchmarks in excellence last season, as the team won all but one race in the entire calendar. Such a situation not only showed chief designer Adrian Newey’s proficiency and talent, it also may have given a blueprint for other teams ahead of the upcoming season.

However, simply ‘copying’ the RB19 from last year is unlikely to result in great success, according to Alpine’s top car design chief Matt Harman.

Max Verstappen. Credit: foxnews.com.au
Max Verstappen. Credit: foxnews.com.au

Copying championship-winning cars is nothing new in F1 and when there is no change in technical regulations, it is often the way that most rivals seem to go.

However, Harman believes that while studying the RB19 closely was one of the things he did during the winter break, making a replica is unlikely to bring similar results. Rather, it is just a matter of taking ‘inspiration’ from the car and making it to suit the needs of the drivers at each team’s disposal.

“We think we’ve understood it quite well. We think we understand what they’re doing. You can’t click your fingers and just imagine it overnight,” Harman said.

“We understand our direction. But I think we’ve also understood some of the other cars on the grid as well.

“There are some other great cars there as well that have got some really interesting developments. And it’s about trying to understand what you’re doing, what they’re doing.

“In the end, if we just follow those people, we will never be in front of them. I think it’s a real mantra for us that we need to be inspired by these people, but we need to follow our own way.”

Harman harps on importance of 2024 design

As far as Harman can tell, even if someone is able to make an exact replica of the RB19, they will still be a year behind Red Bull, who have undoubtedly done some fine-tuning ahead of this season.

It is also no secret that they were able to get to work on their challenger for this season well ahead of others as there was little doubt about the destination of the constructors’ title last term.

Harman does concede that this season is a big one for most teams as they are unlikely to waste too much time and resources ahead of the 2025 season, considering that the regulations will drastically change the following season.

“If we turn up with a car that people see now, by the time we get to 2025, it’s going to be very out of date,” Harman said.

“It’s really important to be inspired by what you see. But we need to be aiming well past that, to give us that two-year horizon.”

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