How did Red Bull gain an advantage over Ferrari?

At the beginning of the season, Red Bull Racing lagged behind their rivals from Ferrari, but gradually the team from Milton Keynes made up for the gap and took the lead. But how did they manage to do it? Mark Hughes, an expert on the official website of the championship, tried to find an answer to this question.

If we compare the performance of cars Red Bull and Ferrari this season, then, apparently, the turning point came at the stage in France. Prior to the race at the Paul Ricard circuit, Ferrari had a faster car, although the results did not always show this due to reliability problems. However, starting from the French stage, Red Bull dominates not only in terms of results, but also in pure speed.

In France, both teams presented new bottoms for their cars. Red Bull’s goal was to shift the center of the aerodynamic “down” to the rear wheels, which kept the same balance while using a smaller rear wing. This technical solution led to an increase in speed on the straights, but at the same time avoided overloading the tires in corners.

However, the main task of Red Bull engineers was to make the behavior of the front of the car more predictable. To a large extent, this was achieved by reducing the weight, due to which the center of gravity of the car has shifted closer to the rear axle. After reducing the weight, the team was able to tune the car in a wider range, since the limiter in the form of improper weight distribution was eliminated.

In addition to improved handling, weight reduction itself is a powerful tool for reducing lap times. Even without major tweaks to the settings, a 10kg drop in weight will usually get you three tenths of a second off a lap.

Prior to the French Grand Prix, the average Red Bull car was 0.176 seconds behind Ferrari on a dry track in qualifying. Considering that at the beginning of the season the Scuderia car only slightly exceeded the minimum allowed weight, partly or completely its small advantage in the first races can be explained precisely by this. After Red Bull also reduced the weight of the car, this was enough to change the balance of power on the track.

As for the redesigned Ferrari underbody that the team brought to the French Grand Prix, it allowed for more downforce, but arguably changed the balance, giving the car more understeer than before. The engineers, along with the drivers, tried to compensate for the understeer in the usual way – by changing the settings, which, in turn, led to tire problems.

Source: Формула 1 на by

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