Monaco GP 2022
Sergio Perez’s qualifier accident was supposed to make the competition doubly happy. Finally, there was an opportunity to study Red Bull in detail. We also took a closer look at the most sensitive area of the entire car.
In terms of upgrades, Monaco didn’t have much to offer tech enthusiasts. Most of the teams competed with the high downforce packs that we already knew from previous races. Only brake cooling and steering geometry were handcrafted to meet the specific requirements of the slowest track of the year.
In the end, tech enthusiasts still have to get their money’s worth. All you have to do is be patient and wait for accidents. Whenever a car slides into the fender, the crane driver’s hour comes in Monaco. Eleven cranes have been placed around the 3,337-kilometre road to lift racing cars out of the danger zone if the worst of the worst should happen. The paparazzi are just waiting for this moment. Once the cars are in the air, the technology is released for launch.
The lower area is particularly sensitive and is worth taking a closer look at this year. With new ground-impact vehicles, 40 percent of the total downforce is produced on the underside of the vehicle. The concept of a new technology should lead to more work. The downforce generated on the undercarriage remains relatively stable when the racing car is in the dirty air of the car in front.
The additional downforce is created by two tapered tunnels that extend backward from the front end of the side legs to the rear. The air in the diffuser, which is pulled up, can expand, accelerating the flow under the car. The so-called venturi effect creates negative pressure in the channels, which sucks the car onto the asphalt.
Complex aerodynamic tricks
First of all, the trick is to get as much air as possible under the car in order to maximize the effect. In addition, aerodynamics are trying to direct the flow through the channels in a clever way so that the air does not leak to the side. It would reduce efficiency. At the entrance, three strongly curved fins divert part of the air outward to close the lower part of the body on the sides. Artificial vortices are also created on the sharp edges of these fins, where the flow is concentrated.
Another effect that technicians will have to contend with is the “porpoise”, which is now known to every F1 fan and causes the car to bounce at high speed. According to Adrian Newey, this phenomenon occurs in the area of the lower body where most of the compressive force is produced. Here the flow is not constant and it interrupts again and again under certain conditions.
A small horizontal wing in the center area can be used to slide in the front on the lower body to influence the flow so that the downforce is more stable in the rear and the recoil problem is mitigated. Aston Martin and Ferrari were the first cars to boast this trick. Since then, Red Bull and Mercedes have followed suit.
But it’s not a panacea either. The rigidity of the undercarriage and the height of the chassis also play an important role. “There are many factors that can trigger or exacerbate porpoise,” explains James Key, McLaren’s chief technology officer. “Driving in turbulent air, the bumps, the stiffness of the tires and the suspension. You have lateral forces acting on the car, as well as the consequences of mechanical setup on aerodynamics. That’s why it’s very difficult to simulate.”
Comparison of Red Bull vs Ferrari
Red Bull is hardly affected by the problem. The competition has long been puzzled where the secret of the RB18 lies. Sergio Perez was kind enough to put his rider in the group at the end of the Monaco qualifiers at Portier’s corner. Carlos Sainz could no longer hold back and also stayed behind. This finally gave photographers the opportunity to photograph the two fastest cars in the field from below.
Gorgeous spy photos reveal some interesting details. First of all, it is noticeable that the bottom part of the Red Bull is more elaborately designed. While the Ferrari’s external channels are divided relatively evenly, the inputs on the RB18 are spaced out at different distances. The outer channel is very narrow, which can be seen only on the B version of the Aston Martin AMR-22.
As far as the channel profile is concerned, Red Bull is showing off a lot more profiles. The length and width vary more. There are even ledges and small steps. In the case of Ferrari, the tunnels extend backward in a neat curve. At the back, the tapering part, you can only see a small step on the F1-75, while on Red Bull there are two prominent corners.
The competition is sure to take a closer look at the photos of the two best cars. But copying is simply not possible. Reshaping the lower body is a complex matter. Already on the front wing and the fins on the wheel carriers, the flow must be deflected in such a way that it reaches the desired point at the entrance to the floor.
In times of budget capping, such a large transfer is difficult to manage. Copying the full aerodynamic concept from another car is important for next season. It’s possible that Red Bull and Ferrari can count on their lead for much longer. In the gallery we show you the exciting photos in detail.