Formula 1 Racing

Why F1’s most boring car tweaks are now making the difference in the fight for wins

Red Bull Racing RB20 inlet

When it comes to Formula 1 car upgrades, it is always more exciting when there is a new wing, or sidepod concept, to get your teeth stuck into.

But with Red Bull in particular getting close to the development ceiling of what is possible with the RB20, it is having to look at much finer details in its quest to find gains.

And a close look at where it has been playing around with things so far this year exposes a tremendous amount of focus on an area that it not really that thrilling – cooling holes.

Indeed, it declared that the latest upgrade it brought to the Spanish Grand Prix, which included refinement to the sidepod inlets, was actually motivated by its desire to have to run the fewest “exit louvre openings.”

And while having one more or one less cooling vent may not be a topic that rouses many, it would be wrong to say that they are insignificant when it comes to ultimate car performance.

In fact, Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan made it clear in Spain that the advantages that can be had from shutting down exit holes at the rear of the car was enough to make a difference in grid positions.

“You’ll be surprised how sensitive, I dare say, everybody is,” said Monaghan on the topic. “You start opening holes in the back of the bodywork, and you spill tumbling dirty air towards the beam wing, floor, edges, and that type of thing. And it hurts.

“The sensitivity to aerodynamics around here, it’s high enough that you’re arguing for a grid slot or two if you get it wrong. So, I’d take [the improvements] every day.  

“And don’t forget we’re in a tight fight with these guys [other teams], and our scope to change the car is not as free as it perhaps used to be. So, wherever we can make a gain, it’s valid.”

The focus on getting the right cooling sorted means that there are different solutions at each race, because what works at a cold Silverstone would not be good for a warm Austria that is at 1000 metres above sea.

And a reflection of what Red Bull has done this season regarding its cooling shows just how important the teams feels this area of the car is.

As Monaghan said: “The effort that goes into sort of re-sculpting the bodywork to get better efficiency at the inlet, for a lesser exit is, it’s hard work, it’s diligent, and it’s a reasonable magnitude of upgrade.”

Red Bull Racing RB20 inlet

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull had been bold when designing the RB20 and opted to incorporate a…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at – Formula 1 – Stories…