Anderson sees long-term advantage of Red Bull: ‘I don’t see any evidence that Mercedes is capable of this’

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Anderson sees long-term advantage of Red Bull: 'I don't see any evidence that Mercedes is capable of this'

Since the introduction of the new aerodynamic rules in 2022, Red Bull Racing has performed very strongly. It is striking that the reigning constructors champion excels in top speed, where it previously benefited from high cornering speed and was more vulnerable on the straights. Under the technical leadership of Adrian Newey and Pierre Waché, Red Bull changed course. Analyst Gary Anderson explains why it is so difficult for the competition to copy Red Bull’s concept.

Lewis Hamilton started for Max Verstappen during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, who was hit by a problem with the drive shaft during qualifying. After the Dutchman had passed his former title rival with a big difference in speed, Hamilton reported over the on-board radio: ‘I don’t know why or how, but he passed me at great speed’. Also last year, the top speed of the RB18 proved to be a crucial advantage in the races battling Ferrari.

Gary Anderson, former designer for Jordan Grand Prix and now known as a technical analyst, researched on behalf of The-Race why the Red Bull is so fast on the straights and why it is so difficult for the competition to apply this to their own car. to fit. “The DRS often makes it impossible to defend, so it’s no surprise that Hamilton was surprised when Max Verstappen overtook him with a speed difference of 33-34km/h towards the first corner,” Anderson said. “That has led some to wonder if maybe Red Bull is doing something sneaky to achieve this, but they just have a very efficient car.”

Advantage not only created by DRS

DRS has been used in Formula 1 since 2011, so it is now a phenomenon that the teams are familiar with and take into account when designing their car. Formula 1’s technical rules allow the rear wing to be opened up to 85 millimetres. The reduction in drag this creates would equate to fifteen to eighteen miles per hour of additional top speed, perhaps twenty in an extreme case. So Red Bull’s advantage is huge,” Anderson explains. The DRS therefore does not explain all the speed difference that we saw when Verstappen overtook Hamilton.

“The details at the tips of the top layer of the rear wing are very different from Mercedes,” says Anderson. “Red Bull has no sharp corners that would generate vortices on the trailing edge of the end plates.” The missing triangle in the center of the rear wing also gives Red Bull an advantage, according to Anderson, as does the shorter length of the corners of the top layer of the rear wing. Especially in wet conditions, swirls can often be seen on the rear wings, which can sometimes reveal something about a car’s ideology.

According to Anderson, Red Bull takes the DRS into account by using a higher rear wing layer. This gives extra downforce in the corners, while the advantage of an open DRS on the straights is greater, and Red Bull performs better in the races in battles with competitors. Anderson explains that the diffuser also plays a role in an open DRS, because the airflows suddenly work very differently.

Concept of Red Bull difficult to copy

Red Bull has developed its car as an efficient collaborative concept, Anderson believes. The competitors can try to copy part of the RB19, but according to Anderson, the rear wing, diffuser, floor and sidepods work perfectly together at Red Bull as a whole, something that seems difficult for the rivals to copy. “I don’t see any evidence that Mercedes is capable of that because it doesn’t really know what it’s missing,” Anderson analyzes Mercedes’ problems. “It’s very easy to focus on individual parts of a car, but it’s how everything works together that matters. When it comes to optimizing the DRS, you have to start with the subfloor.’

Red Bull designer Adrian Newey researched ground effect as a graduation project during his PhD studies, and Red Bull is now taking full advantage of that knowledge: ‘The principle of making venturi tunnels work with ground effect is simple enough, but in F1 it’s all about to maximize this. And then it’s all about the details. Nothing in these cars works in isolation, it’s the whole package.”

Since the start of 2022, there has been a lot of talk about the different concepts used by Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. “We keep talking about the visual concept of the Mercedes compared to Red Bull and Ferrari, what you could call the three different concepts,” Anderson explains. “You can only look at them individually, but the airflow that passes over the outer surface of the sidepod and into and through the radiator ducts has a huge impact on the performance of the floor. There is no one magic trick, you have to make everything work together. That is why Red Bull gets this extra reward with the DRS. It’s just about having a car that’s very well connected aerodynamically.”

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