After reigning supreme for four years on the bounce, Red Bull experienced a rollercoaster 2014. The year started poorly but, despite their problems, they were still able to capitilise on any Mercedes blunders to pick up three victories and finish second in the Constructors’ championship.
However, a lot rides on 2015 being a successful bounce back to form as Renault have effectively jumped on board solely with Red Bull (and Toro Rosso) to create a manufacturer team. With Adrian Newey taking a more relaxed role within the team, this really could be sink or swim time – Newey and his side man Peter Prodromou (who now works as chief aerodynamicist at McLaren) have departed, as has Sebastian Vettel, the man who the entire team was built around.
The RB11 is arguably their boldest car to leave Milton Keynes since the new regulations in 2009. Yes, it is still very much an evolution of last year’s RB10 but there is a lot more ambition about its design. Aware of the fact that Renault have to make up about 20% of their power deficit to even match Mercedes this year, the chassis has a variety of new features aimed at overthrowing the rest of the grid in terms of downforce production. Continue reading →
Not for the first time in their short F1 history, Red Bull have caused controversy regarding flexible bodywork around the front wing area. In Abu Dhabi both RB10s were excluded from qualifying after the FIA discovered that the upper flap on the front wing was flexing far too much, induced by an illegal device that is believed to be in the form of a leaf spring.
As F1 extends its stay in Abu Dhabi for a two day test mid-week, it was no surprise to see further developments on the cars during free practice despite being so late into the season. An early analysis of some components on Friday will help give the teams a headstart when the test begins, whilst also providing data that little bit earlier back to the factory as preparations for 2015 are well underway. Continue reading →
Back-to-back events never really give teams a chance to bring anything new to the table at the second GP event and Brazil was a classic case of this as the F1 circus headed straight from Texas to Interlagos.
Much of the weekend’s practice sessions was spent analysing components ahead of 2015, using large pitot tube arrays to gather information about critical areas where airflow is passing. Whilst CFD and wind-tunnel testing are pretty reliable it is important to transfer the knowledge gained in the factory to the track, hence why the often-used C-word, correlation, is vital to the performance of an F1 car. Continue reading →
This post was requested by email. Unfortunately I managed to delete the email so I can’t mention who asked for it! Apologies, but here it is for you…
At the US grand prix last year Red Bull performed a pitstop in 1.923 seconds, the fastest in F1 history. OK, that isn’t strictly true because as much as they like to brag about it, the car was stationary for 1.923 seconds. The actual pitstop time is recorded from the moment the car enters the pitbox to when it leaves the pitbox. FOM place timing gates at these points and this is the time we see on our screens. So really, considering a driver’s reaction time to the green light is about 0.2 seconds and it takes a couple more tenths to get in and out of the pitbox, you’re probably looking at an overall time of 2.2-2.3 seconds. Impressive.
Red Bull – and all of the top teams at least – can measure the stationary time of their car using cameras placed on the boom(s) of the pitbox, hence why they were able to proudly announce their ‘world record’. Continue reading →
This post was requested by @robb___alexander on Twitter. I have another post coming up that was asked for via email so please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do as the summer break continues.
To say that a car has a “bad” feature would be incorrect – it’s rare that a team designs something bad. No team designs something bad because they have the data to tell them that it isn’t. However, there is a competitive order so clearly some cars have worse features than the top guys. In this piece I aim to dissect each car and pick a few plus a minor points from them.
Changing the minor points will not necessarily make the car quicker because it is all about the complete package. Take Mercedes as an example: if their power unit is so good, why do the manufacturer team still have such an advantage over the likes of Williams and McLaren? Their car overall is the performance benchmark and it is composed of a number of technical solutions that make it one of the most dominant cars in the sport’s history. Continue reading →
Hockenheim represents a demanding blend of both high top speed and good cornering grip. Unless you’re in a Mercedes it is very difficult to balance the car for this type of circuit. Red Bull had phenomenal pace in the final, tight sector but where half a second down in the middle relative the main competition. Williams by contrast – who have a slippery car in a straight line – had a solid first and middle sector, as proved during the latter stages of the race when Valtteri Bottas held off Lewis Hamilton.
As far as upgrades go there were a few finer details across all teams, but it was McLaren who stood out the most this weekend. Continue reading →