Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

The aero revamp that Red Bull has unleashed in Portugal

Red Bull has shown no signs of easing off in its Formula 1 development push, as it brought a raft of upgrades to its RB16B for the fight against Mercedes in Portugal.

The aero revamp that Red Bull has unleashed in Portugal

The changes are especially interesting because rather than be focused on one particular area of the car, as is usually the case when new parts arrive, the changes are extensive from front to back.

Max Verstappen was tasked with testing the parts during Friday’s FP1 session whilst Sergio Perez ran the car in the old configuration, as the team made sure it was getting the performance uplift it expected.

Once it had that confirmation, Perez’s car was fitted with the parts for FP2 and they’re now expected to stay on the car for the rest of the weekend.

Here we look at what’s new on the Red Bull.

Red Bull Racing RB16B brake duct detail

Red Bull Racing RB16B brake duct detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A small detail change has been made to the front brake duct, with an extra vertical divider placed in the upper section of the inlet. 

This optimisation is about channelling the airflow more efficiently into that central inlet and delivering the airflow it collects to the designated section of the brake assembly.

This is more likely about the airflow behaviour as the wheels are steered, because the oncoming airflow behaves differently but their requirement remains the same.

Red Bull Racing RB16B deflectors

Red Bull Racing RB16B deflectors

Photo by: Uncredited

The changes made to the bargeboards and sidepod deflectors are pretty significant in terms of optimising the flow under the car’s floor and along its flank.

Starting with the bargeboards, the row of fins that make up the front edge of the footplate have been modified quite extensively, with not only the number of fins increased but also their angle of attack (red arrow) has been altered.

Meanwhile, the outwardly angled fins atop them have been adjusted too, with the second row made into a trio of fins, rather than just a pair.

The really big and quite noticeable change comes in how Red Bull has optimised its deflector array, with each change resulting in a knock-on effect that has required the whole assembly to be reconfigured.

The forwardmost vertical deflector (highlighted in red) is now a two-piece affair, with a slot running almost the entire height of the element,.

It also connects with the front section of the floor’s axehead, rather than hovering over it and being attached to the outer section of the bargeboard.

This has resulted in the Venetian blind-like slats having to be overhauled too, with the ones connected to the forward deflector lengthened as a consequence (highlighted in blue).

To work the airflow harder further downstream, changes have also been made to the rearward vertical deflector, as where it previously hung over the floor it is now attached to it (extension highlighted in green).

This has resulted in what was previously the lowermost slat in the gentian blind panel being extended rearward too (highlighted in blue), whilst another full length slat has been added beneath (highlighted in yellow).

The pair of detached floor scrolls mounted on the edge of the floor behind this have also been revised, as they now meet with the angled floor strake to create a choke point.

Red Bull Racing RB16B diffuser detail

Red Bull Racing RB16B diffuser detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull has made a change to the central section of the diffuser too, narrowing the ramped section that leads up from the plank on the reference plane.

This narrower boat tail section of the diffuser will obviously open more room for the airflow under the car but also pinches the channel that’s created under the crash structure on the top of the floor.

Meanwhile, the Gurney-like extensions that run around the diffuser’s periphery have also been subtly amended, with the metal bridging support revised in order to handle the loads differently.

shares
comments

Related video

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Previous article

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Next article

Ilott set for next Alfa Romeo F1 practice outing at French GP

Ilott set for next Alfa Romeo F1 practice outing at French GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Portuguese GP
Author Matt Somerfield
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021