Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

How Red Bull struck an early tech blow against Mercedes

A wheel has yet to be turned in the Formula 1 World Championship but tensions are already high in Melbourne, as the teams begin to jockey for position and dispute the legality of each other’s machines.

Ferrari’s 2019 power unit, Mercedes’ DAS and Racing Point’s ‘Pink Merc’ are all hot topics, but one unheralded key battle in the technical war has already been won, as a request by Red Bull has forced the FIA to clarify its position on a solution used by Mercedes in 2019 and which it intended to use again this season.

The rear brake duct and suspension upright seen on both the W10 and 2020’s W11 features what the team believed to be a clever interpretation of the regulations. It’s a design that leans on the suspension upright to create an additional inlet above the main brake duct (red arrow, below), which then feeds airflow into a void on the top of the brake drum. 

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, rear duct

Mercedes AMG F1 W10, rear duct

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This provides a cooling benefit that aids in tyre management, as it reduces heat transfer between the brakes and wheel rim, a trait that would ordinarily heat the tyre.

The issue that Red Bull raised relates to a section within article 5.1 of the technical regulations:

Air ducts around the rear brakes will be considered part of the braking system and shall not protrude beyond:

  1. a) A plane parallel to the ground situated at a distance of 160mm above the horizontal centre line of the wheel.

The inlet formed by the uprights design clearly sits above this 160mm measurement and so the FIA has confirmed that teams using this solution will have to make adjustments.

Read Also:

Time to adapt

As the affected teams have little time to remedy the affected components ahead of the race this weekend, it’s customary for the FIA to offer an alternative solution. As such, the FIA has suggested a similarly-sized outlet can be made at the rear of the upright for airflow to pass straight through, or the inlet can be closed-off entirely. The second of these solutions can only be run for the first two events, with the FIA requiring a fully-compliant version thereafter.

Racing Point RP20 rear suspension brakes

Racing Point RP20 rear suspension brakes

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

While Mercedes has been the primary target of this ‘attack’, Racing Point may also find itself pegged back in Australia too, as it carried the design across to the RP20 (above).

Read Also:

shares
comments
The biggest losers if Ferrari's worst fears come true

Previous article

The biggest losers if Ferrari's worst fears come true

Next article

Verstappen demands "level playing field" amid Ferrari row

Verstappen demands "level playing field" amid Ferrari row
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Australian GP
Author Matthew Somerfield
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

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...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
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