Revealed: The secrets of Red Bull's RB16B F1 car

After weeks of secrecy the design tricks of Red Bull's new RB16B challenger are slowly being revealed during Formula 1 pre-season testing. Take a look at the latest discoveries in the Bahrain paddock.

Revealed: The secrets of Red Bull's RB16B F1 car

Red Bull was one of the most secretive when it came to its new Formula 1 car launch, heavily restricting the number of images made available of the RB16B.

However, it finally had to unleash its car to the prying eyes of fans and rival teams in Bahrain testing this week, and we’ve already been able to learn a lot about its design concept – and latest updates.

 

Much of the interest about the Red Bull is about the rear of the car, with the team having spent its two development tokens on making adjustments to its gearbox carrier and rear suspension.

Although they will clearly have an effect, these changes have less to do with mechanical design requirements and everything to do with improving the car’s aerodynamics at the rear end - something that’s especially important when we consider the changes made to reduce downforce this season.

Red Bull has drawn inspiration from rivals Mercedes when it comes to its new solution, reorienting the suspension in order that it is placed as high and rearward as possible.

That allows the airflow to have a cleaner passage to the gap between the tyre sidewall and edge of the diffuser, over the diffuser bulge (which has also been extensively modified for 2021) and into the coke bottle channel in the centre of the car.

It’s also altogether interesting to see that whilst Red Bull has retained the single pillar design that wraps around the exhaust that it introduced late last season, it has made further changes for 2021.

The wastegate pipework, which had previously been split into two and was originally placed high up beside the main exhaust and was later moved into a lower position, has now been combined into just one larger wastegate outlet that sits beneath the main exhaust.

This has also resulted in a revised swept back hood shape for the pillar as it wraps around the two exhaust outlets (see below for comparisons with the 2020 arrangements)

Red Bull Racing RB16 exhaust comparison
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16

The latest updates

Interestingly, we have already started to see the car fitted with new aerodynamic trinkets when compared with the images released by the team just a few weeks ago too.

Mounted on the underside of the Side Impact Protections Spar’s fairing, we can see a new control vane was fitted to the car from the start of the test (green arrow).

This will help to guide the airflow that might ordinarily peel away from the sidepod’s undercut, keeping it closer to the car's bodywork and improve aerodynamic performance downstream.

 

On the opening day, Max Verstappen was treated to a further addition, with a quite bold strake added in the section of floor where the mandatory diagonal cutout has been made in the floor for this year (red arrow).

It’s a solution that we’ve seen elsewhere on the grid, albeit in a different guise, with the various designs used to facilitate the right effect depending on how the airflow is drawn toward it from the sidepod.

This also takes into account how hard it has already worked the airflow with the various aerodynamic solutions on the floor’s edge ahead of it.

Downstream of this another pair of more acutely outwardly angled, yet smaller, strakes (blue arrow) were added to the car on Saturday, as Sergio Perez took his turn at the wheel.

These new strakes sit ahead of the main strake that are all looking to compensate for the new floor cutout and loss of fully enclosed holes and slots that altered the flow around the rear tyre in previous years.

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

The mysterious gun helping teams master F1’s 2021 tyres
Previous article

The mysterious gun helping teams master F1’s 2021 tyres

Next article

Vettel: Younger me would be panicking right now

Vettel: Younger me would be panicking right now
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021