Revealed: The secrets of Red Bull's RB16B F1 car

After weeks of secrecy the design tricks of Red Bull's new RB16B challenger are slowly being revealed during Formula 1 pre-season testing. Take a look at the latest discoveries in the Bahrain paddock.

Revealed: The secrets of Red Bull's RB16B F1 car

Red Bull was one of the most secretive when it came to its new Formula 1 car launch, heavily restricting the number of images made available of the RB16B.

However, it finally had to unleash its car to the prying eyes of fans and rival teams in Bahrain testing this week, and we’ve already been able to learn a lot about its design concept – and latest updates.

 

Much of the interest about the Red Bull is about the rear of the car, with the team having spent its two development tokens on making adjustments to its gearbox carrier and rear suspension.

Although they will clearly have an effect, these changes have less to do with mechanical design requirements and everything to do with improving the car’s aerodynamics at the rear end - something that’s especially important when we consider the changes made to reduce downforce this season.

Red Bull has drawn inspiration from rivals Mercedes when it comes to its new solution, reorienting the suspension in order that it is placed as high and rearward as possible.

That allows the airflow to have a cleaner passage to the gap between the tyre sidewall and edge of the diffuser, over the diffuser bulge (which has also been extensively modified for 2021) and into the coke bottle channel in the centre of the car.

It’s also altogether interesting to see that whilst Red Bull has retained the single pillar design that wraps around the exhaust that it introduced late last season, it has made further changes for 2021.

The wastegate pipework, which had previously been split into two and was originally placed high up beside the main exhaust and was later moved into a lower position, has now been combined into just one larger wastegate outlet that sits beneath the main exhaust.

This has also resulted in a revised swept back hood shape for the pillar as it wraps around the two exhaust outlets (see below for comparisons with the 2020 arrangements)

Red Bull Racing RB16 exhaust comparison
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16

The latest updates

Interestingly, we have already started to see the car fitted with new aerodynamic trinkets when compared with the images released by the team just a few weeks ago too.

Mounted on the underside of the Side Impact Protections Spar’s fairing, we can see a new control vane was fitted to the car from the start of the test (green arrow).

This will help to guide the airflow that might ordinarily peel away from the sidepod’s undercut, keeping it closer to the car's bodywork and improve aerodynamic performance downstream.

 

On the opening day, Max Verstappen was treated to a further addition, with a quite bold strake added in the section of floor where the mandatory diagonal cutout has been made in the floor for this year (red arrow).

It’s a solution that we’ve seen elsewhere on the grid, albeit in a different guise, with the various designs used to facilitate the right effect depending on how the airflow is drawn toward it from the sidepod.

This also takes into account how hard it has already worked the airflow with the various aerodynamic solutions on the floor’s edge ahead of it.

Downstream of this another pair of more acutely outwardly angled, yet smaller, strakes (blue arrow) were added to the car on Saturday, as Sergio Perez took his turn at the wheel.

These new strakes sit ahead of the main strake that are all looking to compensate for the new floor cutout and loss of fully enclosed holes and slots that altered the flow around the rear tyre in previous years.

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

The mysterious gun helping teams master F1’s 2021 tyres

Previous article

The mysterious gun helping teams master F1’s 2021 tyres

Next article

Vettel: Younger me would be panicking right now

Vettel: Younger me would be panicking right now
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain March testing
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Matt 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