Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

The rear end overhaul that has transformed Red Bull

Red Bull’s crushing form over the Formula 1 season opening weekend in Bahrain is proof that it has got on top of the tricky aero anomalies that dogged its campaign last year.

The rear end overhaul that has transformed Red Bull

The often unpredictable rear end of the RB16 proved a handful for both Max Verstappen and Alex Albon at times, but the evidence is clear that the RB16B is much more firmly planted.

Red Bull spent a large portion of last season focused on a rectification programme, as it discovered quite quickly that the RB16’s performance was flawed, owing to a correlation issue between its simulation tools back at the factory and the results delivered on track.

The team dug deep in the early part of the season and initially focused its attention on redesigning the car’s front end.

But, having fixed those issues and with new regulations cutting downforce at the rear of this year’s cars, the design team shifted its attention to nailing the rear end performance of the RB16B.

Red Bull Racing RB16B comparison rear suspension

Red Bull Racing RB16B comparison rear suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Its primary focus was to improve the airflow’s transit over the rear of the car, with the team happy to be schooled by its rivals as its layout draws inspiration from the concept introduced by Mercedes last season.

However, it has added its own twist too as, whilst the entire lower suspension assembly has essentially been flipped over, with the trackrod mounted at the front, rather than the rear (blue in lower inset) it’s actually its lower wishbone design that’s altogether more interesting.

Much like the design at the front end of the cars in recent years, rather than have the conventional triangulation, Red Bull has created a multi-link lower wishbone arrangement for the RB16B.

This separation of the arms allows the designers to be more specific with their placement and enables them to place them in a position that more effectively meets their aerodynamic demands.

This is critical when we consider the regulation changes for 2021 which put an onus on the design of the car’s rear end.

With this in mind, Red Bull has raised the lower suspension elements and pushed them as far rearward as possible, in order to try and improve the space available for the airflow over the raised diffuser ceiling, into the coke bottle section and the channel beside the tyre’s sidewall and edge of the diffuser.

Red Bull Racing RB16B rear detail

Red Bull Racing RB16B rear detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull introduced a multi-link arrangement in 2019, with its upper wishbone sporting the splayed layout (left image, below).

For 2020 and again in 2021, the team opted for a conventional upper wishbone but switched to a multi-link arrangement for its lower wishbone (right image, below). 

Red Bull Racing RB15 front suspension

Red Bull Racing RB15 front suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Red Bull Racing RB16 front suspension

Red Bull Racing RB16 front suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

 

The never ending search...

Red Bull RB16B floor fin

Red Bull RB16B floor fin

Photo by: Uncredited

Red Bull already looked to be in good stead heading into the first round of the championship, with a solid performance during preseason testing that suggested it may be in line to dethrone Mercedes.

It arrived in Bahrain with another weapon in its arsenal though, as the team installed another fin on the floor ahead of the rear tyre (red arrow).

This fin has a distinctive curled edge which will undoubtedly have an impact on the airflow, with the vortex shed from it designed to work in harmony with the other fins already present on the floor around it.

The role of these fins has been increased for 2021, given the introduction of the floor cutout and the inability to use slots and fully enclosed holes in the floor that remains. 

Each fin will have a specific role but contribute to turning airflow across and around the rear tyre in order to limit the turbulence it creates, which can be damaging to the performance of the diffuser if left untreated.

Red Bull Racing RB16B rear suspension

Red Bull Racing RB16B rear suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This illustration shows how quickly the team is reacting to the 2021 rule changes, with the mid floor fin and two outwardly angled fins only added to the RB16B during the preseason test.

shares
comments

Related video

Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more
Previous article

Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more

Next article

Alonso “expecting to struggle” in opening races of F1 return

Alonso “expecting to struggle” in opening races of F1 return
Load comments
The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries Prime

The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries

The VW Group’s German superpowers of sportscar racing have all but confirmed they are coming to F1 when the next set of engine rules come into force in 2026. Here's why both manufacturers are all set to take the plunge, and crucially how it might work

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup Prime

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

Holding a race in Las Vegas – party central, a city of dreams and decadence and, yes, more than a smattering of tackiness – has been on Liberty Media’s most-wanted list since it acquired Formula 1’s commercial rights. But, as LUKE SMITH explains, F1 has been here before and the relationship didn’t work out

Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads Prime

Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads

A Formula 2 and Formula E champion, Nyck de Vries is currently considering where his future in motorsport lies. Continuing in WEC and Formula E is possible and he's also courted glances Stateside after impressing in an IndyCar test. But ahead of his Formula 1 FP1 debut with Williams, he could have another option if he impresses...

Why Leclerc's crash shouldn't put off F1 drivers tasting history Prime

Why Leclerc's crash shouldn't put off F1 drivers tasting history

OPINION: For a demo run ahead of Monaco's Historique Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was blessed with the opportunity to drive Niki Lauda's former Ferrari 312B3 - but a brake failure at Rascasse suggested Leclerc's Monaco hoodoo transcended contemporary F1. Although an awkward incident, Leclerc deserves credit for embracing F1's history.

Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari is a mirage Prime

Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari is a mirage

OPINION: The fight for the 2022 Formula 1 world titles between Red Bull and Ferrari so far features little of the public animosity that developed between the former and Mercedes last year. But that isn’t to say things are full on friendly or won’t get much worse very quickly…

Formula 1
May 17, 2022
The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Prime

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Formula 1
May 16, 2022
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Prime

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells Oleg Karpov how close Haas came to the abyss.

Formula 1
May 14, 2022