Formula 1 | F1 Tech: The evolution of the Red Bull RB18 in 2022

F1 teams have debuted new single-seaters this year, based on completely revised regulations. Despite the budget ceiling, which limits the expenses of each structure, the teams have worked hard on their car, in order to make more or less significant changes.

Today we discuss the changes made to the Red Bull RB18 between the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix, the first and 13th rounds respectively of the 2022 Formula 1 season.

The main evolution of the single seater

Like many single-seaters this season, it is on the pontoons where the Red Bull RB18 has evolved the most since the first race of the year. As for the Milton Keynes team, it didn’t take until the first Grand Prix to see changes appear.

So during the third day of winter testing in Bahrain, the sidepods of the RB18 sported a different shape, with this characteristic blister, later picked up by Aston Martin F1, on the outside and top of the sidepod.

The lower part of the pontoon had impressed since the first winter tests in Barcelona – Red Bull had not shown their car before sending it to the track – with a real corridor for the flow of air in the pontoon, and entrances with a very advanced and sculpted appearance. around the cabin.

The generally very sculptural appearance of the RB18, in particular contrast to Mercedes’ pontoonless solution, has allowed the team to dramatically develop its single-seater in terms of drag and aerodynamic performance, currently making it one of the fastest in F1. a straight line

Less significant changes

Earlier this summer, Red Bull changed the rear of their RB18, sculpting the engine cover more (photo below the image at the top of the article). This presents a much greater drop over the rear of the sidepods, allowing more air to reach the rear wing and the beam wing, which is located at the base of the wing.

In addition to these very visual updates, which also consist of fins and circuit-specific configurations, Red Bull has modified the suspensions of the RB18. Only the front end hasn’t really changed, as with many single-seaters.

The floor was also a popular area for the Austrian team’s engineers to make changes. This was especially the case at the front of the floor, where the vertical fins are located, directing the air under the floor, into the channels that generate the ground effect.

The exterior parts of the floor have also changed several times, often to accompany the various modifications seen in the body and suspensions of the RB18.

What are the results of these developments?

Regularly up against Ferrari in the early races of the season, Red Bull quickly rectified the situation in terms of performance. The changes made at Imola, which have notably allowed the RB18 to gain almost 10 kilos on the scales, put the Austrian team ahead of the Scuderia.

The team today complains about always having a single-seater that is too heavy, but does not prioritize the increase in weight when carrying parts. So far, it’s clear that this strategy is working.

Recently, the developments made by Ferrari have given the Scuderia a slight lead on lap, and sometimes race pace, especially in Austria and France. But Red Bull continues to play at the same level thanks to its many developments, and also excels operationally and strategically.

With an advantage that is starting to become more than crucial for world titles, Red Bull will be able to afford to switch quickly to single-seaters in 2023. Given the work base that the RB18 represents, it is likely that the team continue an evolution of its current F1.

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