Tech Talk: Red Bull grafting hard to close the gap

It would be fair to say that Red Bull won the Canadian Grand Prix because Mercedes imploded rather than a blow for blow duel, but that should not detract from the fact that the world champion team are grafting hard to reel in the pace setters.

Tech guru Matthew Somerfield looks back at what was in their bag of tricks for the RB10 in Montreal.

Rear wing

Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice, Montreal, Canada, Friday 6 June 2014.

Red Bull arrived with a new rear wing for Canada and extensively tested it throughout Free Practice, before returning to their regular specification for Qualifying and the Race.

The new rear wing featured endplates with a leading edge slot, something the team ran with during 2013 but up until now had abandoned for this season. The team also reduced the number of louvres to two as the angle of attack of both the Mainplane and top flap were also reduced.

After close observation, the team obviously felt that there was more merit in having the downforce / balance for the corners, than reducing drag on the straights.

Nose

nose

Red Bull’s quest for aerodynamic efficiency can be seen in their revised nosecone for the Canadian GP. The RB10’s nose normally sports a small ‘pelican’ underbelly, aiding the control of airflow under the nose.

It’s presence normally helps with the attachment of airflow, which when compared to a flat surface, reduces the boundary layer that builds up at speed, causing the flow to detach. The mere fact that the surface is curved however does slow the flow down, gently augmenting it’s direction.

Due to the stop start nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve the team decided to delete the ‘pelican’, optimizing performance for the low speed corners and increasing performance on the straights.

Front wing amendments

front wing

There is obviously a distinct difference in terms of aerodynamic demand between Monaco and Montreal and so Red Bull arrived with not only some developments but changes to their wing to suit the circuit characteristics.

Marked in green we can see that the team (much like McLaren and Mercedes before them) have added a horizontal vane to the endplate. This is used to redirect some of the airflow not taken care of by the cascades ahead of it, up and around the front tyre, helping to manage the tyres’ wake impact.

Marked in yellow we can see that the team revised the amount of flap available on the top flap with the Monaco variant (on the right) using less flap on the inside to allow for a steeper angle of attack outbound of it. Also marked in yellow we can see that the trailing edge of the larger cascade was also trimmed back for Canada, changing the way in which the airflow moves around the front tyre.

Marked in purple we can see that the team has once again employed a metal support bracket to stop the wing flexing at high speed and becoming inefficient. There wasn’t a need for the support in Monaco with the relatively low speeds attainable around the streets of the principality. (Analysis by Matthew Somerfield )