Tech insight: What’s behind Red Bull’s new aero package?

Matthew Somerfield
motorsport.com

The front wing has undergone numerous alterations, as the team looks to skew how much of it is devoted to downforce generation and stability and how much is focused on containing the turbulence created by the front wheels.

Red Bull Racing RB16 front wing

Red Bull Racing RB16 front wing <span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 front wing Giorgio Piola
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Giorgio Piola

There are changes to the way in which the flapped section connects to the neutral section, with the third flap now joined to that section (white arrow). This also alters the chord of each of the flaps and their relationship with one another. 

However, perhaps the biggest change is the upper flap, which features a new more curvaceous trailing edge (green line) and has been stepped forward in relation to the endplate, as the team looks to maximise the outer portion of the wing to improve how airflow moves across and around the front tyre, especially as the wheels are steered.

There are further changes to the shape and geometry of the rest of the mainplane, flaps, endplate and under wing strakes, all of which cater for the aforementioned.

Red Bull Racing RB16 front wing

Red Bull Racing RB16 front wing <span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 front wing Giorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola

Mounted atop the cape, a solution that Red Bull is sporting for the first time this season, the design team has added a hedgehog fin. This fin is very similar to the ones we saw mounted on the Haas turning vanes last season (below), introduced to add an extra dimension to how the airflow moves around this region of the car.

Haas F1 Team VF-19 turning vanes detail

Haas F1 Team VF-19 turning vanes detail <span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
Haas F1 Team VF-19 turning vanes detail Giorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola

New bargeboard package

The RB16 has also been treated to a new set of bargeboards and sidepod deflectors, as the team looks to improve flow around the sidepods. 

Red Bull Racing RB16 side

Red Bull Racing RB16 side <span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 side Giorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola

The sidepod deflectors now have the venetian blind-style slats bridging the gap between the forwardmost vertical element and the main vertical deflector, a solution akin to ones we’ve seen elsewhere on the grid. Meanwhile, the floating axehead just below it now has another element shadowing it (red arrow).

Obscured from view there are further changes to the bargeboards too, with the shape and position of the boomerangs altered to cater for the aforementioned changes, whilst the serrations atop the main bargeboard have also been optimised further.

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear

Red Bull Racing RB16 rear <span class="copyright">Giorgio Piola</span>
Red Bull Racing RB16 rear Giorgio Piola

Giorgio Piola

At the rear of the car, the team also mounted a camera to grab footage of any flexion in the diffuser. You’ll note chequered stickers placed on the strakes and central Gurney-style extension in this image.

It’s important to note that the changes seen in this new package being tested today are not as the consequence of a total change in philosophy, but rather an optimization of the flow regimes already present.

All of these aerodynamic changes will have been designed in conjunction with the new front suspension arrangement, which you can see in our video...

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