This time everything should be different. This time, Red Bull doesn’t want to chase after, as has been the case in recent years, and only want to catch up with Mercedes at the end of the season. In 2021, the order for the engineers around star designer Adrian Newey is to meet the big rival at eye level from the first race and to drive for the world title until the final.
The new car, the RB16B, should become an all-rounder and be competitive on all racetracks.
The refore, the role of the favorite was quickly determined. Red Bull deliberately pushes them towards the opponent. And yet there is great pressure internally. Because you have to give Max Verstappen a fast car.
The 23-year-old is tied to the team until 2023 inclusive. But apparently his loyalty is tied to certain performance clauses.
Because of the homologation guidelines, the new car is based on the genes of the old one. A high percentage of parts were reused. Like the competition, the chassis is a takeover from last year. Hence the name RB16B, which looks just like a B version.
The se are all familiar elements from the RB16.
The details make the difference. Changed front brake ventilation can be seen on the computer renderings. In addition to the side box, the engineers now fan out five instead of four air deflectors one behind the other.
The y consciously create air vortices that influence the flow in the rear of the car.
The side box seems to drop off a bit earlier, even if it’s always difficult to judge from the computer graphics. It also looks less baggy. Pay attention to the red label “Red Bull” and there especially to the letters “d” and “B” as well as the upper red stripe:
The changed lines reveal that the engineers may have tidied up the side box. You could also say: you seem to have become a bit more radical.
The task is a big one: Red Bull put the loss on the engine side compared to Mercedes at around three tenths of a second per lap. In addition, the Honda V6 turbo went into recuperation mode earlier in the last part of the straight. With so-called “clipping”, the drive loses the additional electric boost.
Who do new rules harm more?
Back to aerodynamics. Red Bull supports the rear wing on a central stilt. In 2020, they switched to this solution in the last two races of the season. It could very well be that Red Bull will do like Mercedes in the new season. One or two stilts alternated depending on the type of route.
The changed rules are the big unknown. Like the other teams, the regulations force Red Bull to make modifications to the underbody, the rear brake ventilation and the diffuser. Red Bull used the season finale to carry out initial trials with an underbody that was converted to 2021.
The findings were incorporated into the development of the new car.
The diffuser bars are cut by five centimeters.
The big question is who the changed specifications hit harder. Red Bull with a shorter wheelbase and higher position in the rear. Or Mercedes, where the engineers rely on a long wheelbase and moderate employment.
The n there is the question of who likes the new Pirelli tires better.
Perez neben Verstappen
The arch rivals followed a different development philosophy. While Mercedes stopped the upgrades early in 2020, Red Bull showed up with new parts even at the last races. According to the motto: What we will learn in 2020 will also help us for 2021, because many components have to be adopted. For Red Bull it was also crucial to see whether the results from the wind tunnel could actually be implemented on the racetrack. That led the engineers to black ice in the first half of 2020.
The re will probably be one or two updates to the car before the test drives and no later than the start of the season in a month. Red Bull has high hopes for its new driver line-up. Max Verstappen gets veteran Sergio Perez at his side.
The Mexican should ensure that Red Bull is no longer just a one-man team. With its experience, the racing team from Milton Keynes also wants to reach for the constructors’ trophy. But the problems with aerodynamics must not be repeated. Because otherwise the title train would leave early again. And because too complex corrections would rob the 2022 car too much wind tunnel and CFD time.