Analysis reveals upgrades at Verstappen’s Red Bull: ‘Upgrades much bigger than expected’

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Analysis reveals upgrades at Verstappen's Red Bull: 'Upgrades much bigger than expected'

Red Bull Racing performed a stunt in February by showing the public an RB20 that had been significantly modified compared to the very dominant RB19. The first package of upgrades was introduced in Japan, which received little attention during the weekend. However, the upgrades appear to be much greater than expected and are a sign of further upgrades later in the season.

Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin are doing their best to catch up with Red Bull, but the Austrian racing team is also a moving target, with a better car than in the opening races. “Red Bull does not offer the competition any breathing space,” journalist Michael Schmidt opens his analysis at the German Auto Motor und Sport. ‘After Ferrari took a one-two in Melbourne, it seemed for a while that the distance to the constructors’ champion had been reduced somewhat. The RB20 received its first upgrade in Japan, while the first serious upgrades at Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren are still pending.’

Visible and invisible changes

Max Verstappen struck with the improved RB20, winning the Japanese Grand Prix for the third year in a row, with Sergio Pérez as clear number two. ‘Red Bull’s aerodynamic upgrade package is much bigger than it seemed at first glance. Many of the changes took place under the bodywork,” Schmidt explains. ‘The heat exchangers and cooling were moved to another location. The purpose of this change is that the cooling inlets can be redesigned, just like the exhausts,” further developments are pointed out. ‘This improves aerodynamic efficiency.’

This also had visible consequences. “The horizontal air intake under the top of the sidepod (seen diagonally under the mirrors in the image below, ed.) has become even more of a letterbox than before,” Schmidt notes. ‘The engineers’ explanation was: we are looking for the most efficient places for the radiators, to allow as much air as possible to flow through the openings. This allows us to make the cooling inlets smaller. That has advantages for the rear of the car.’

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Max Verstappen in the new RB20 at Suzuka.

The underside of the RB20 was also tinkered with again. ‘The floor and the floor edges were adapted to the changed air flow, in order to generate more downforce locally, without this being at the expense of the stable air flow. In addition, Red Bull is constantly working on a new strategy to calm swirling air flows by letting the turbulence end up in air intakes, and then releasing these air flows at a less critical point,’ is the design team’s philosophy. by Adrian Newey clearly.

‘In addition to the two openings on the inside behind the point where the halo is attached, there are now two new holes on the outside of the halo twenty centimeters further forward.’ This gap can be seen in the image below, to the right of the Inter.mx sponsorship. The original holes can be seen a little further back on the inside of the shoulders of the RB20.

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Verstappen was on his way quickly with the new RB20.

The total list of upgrades from Red Bull therefore included new cooling inlets, a new floor, new floor edges, a modified mounting of the mirrors, and a change to the cooling of the front brakes. The latter change was circuit-specific for Suzuka, because the circuit has less heavy braking zones than the previous circuits.

Aston Martin also with upgrades

‘Of the other top teams, only Aston Martin also introduced upgrades. With a new floor, sidepods, and a new beam wing, the upgrade was even bigger than that of Red Bull. The package was only ready at the last minute, and on Friday only a simplified version was ready. The two cars were identical again from the third free practice session onwards,” says Schmidt, who thus contradicts rumors that Lance Stroll ultimately entered the race without any upgrades. participated.

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