March 22, 2023

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Red Bull was kept secret before the tests, but there was no revolution. Major changes – weight loss

But the team is happy.

On February 23, pre-season tests started in Bahrain – and until that day, Formula 1 fans had not actually seen the new car of the reigning world champion Max Verstappen . “Red Bull” pathetically and pompously “launched the season” on February 3 , but showed it in fact an old car with an almost unchanged livery, which (as if in a joke on the fans) was called new.

But the debut of the RB19 in the tests partially explained such a lazy move: in fact, in the background, someone would hardly notice any differences from the RB18 at all:

No huge leap from 2022 – just some evolutionary changes in the same ideas.

However, the team is pleased: Red Bull racing program adviser Helmut Marko praised the final car and dismissed the impact of restrictions imposed by a fine for budget overruns in 2021:

“We have a working model. If there were problems with it, the restrictions would hit more seriously. Also, for engineers, cutting time in a wind tunnel has become a good measure to improve discipline. It was necessary to find new ideas and they were found.

But first of all, we have reached an extremely low mass. Considering how far from that we were last year, the team performed great. It’s almost scary how early we got the car ready this year and how good it is so far.”

What is the main feature of the car? It is in the most effective use of more or less well-known ideas. For example, look at the yellow stripe of paint to check the aerodynamic flow – this tunnel for “flowing” from the side of the car to the bottom of the car at Red Bull is the largest in the peloton.

What is his idea? This is a “cut” – a form of side pontoon, first used on the Ferrari F92A in 1992. With the changes in the regulations, she disappeared and returned, but finally entrenched herself in F-1 in 2011 after running the idea on the Toro Rosso car.

Its essence lies in the maximum “activation” of the bottom through the transfer of an accentuated flow over the largest available surface to the rear – the area between the wheels and the “bottleneck” of the engine compartment.

The concept has several advantages at once: it generates a lot of “blow-out” downforce without additional drag due to the difference in pressures (unlike the turbulences formed by the rear wings) and uses the already existing areas of the machines. The amount of downforce due to synergy with the diffuser increases towards the tail.

In past seasons, the use of “cutting” was almost mandatory due to the essence of the regulations: there were simply no other more effective ways to “activate” the bottom. Because it was used and studied by everyone, moving towards the expansion of the “tunnel” – Ferrari even came up with extra high radiators specifically for this in 2017 (the first car of technical director Mattia Binotto, by the way!)

In 2022, everything changed: in the new regulations, the ground effect returned and most of the downforce, in principle, began to be generated under the bottom, regardless of the concept of pontoons. It now rather serves as the main “processing” tool: they choose the place of a more active “turning on” of the bottom and diffuser and play with the efficiency of the chassis in terms of the balance between drag and additional downforce.