F1 teams will be "all over" Red Bull floor photographs - Mercedes

Formula 1 teams will be “all over” photographs of the 2023 Red Bull after the car was craned in Monaco to reveal its ground-effect floor design, reckons Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin.

Marshals remove the car of Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, from the circuit after a crash in Q1

Sergio Perez crashed out of qualifying at Sainte Devote and, due to the tight confines of the principality street circuit, his RB19 was hoisted out of the way - allowing photographers to capture its floor.

Given engineers estimate 60% of car performance is now generated by the underbody aerodynamics following the 2022 switch to ground-effect rules, teams have kept this area a closely guarded secret.

The heavily upgraded Mercedes W14 was also similarly exposed after Lewis Hamilton crashed in FP3.

But Mercedes trackside engineering director Shovlin reckoned Red Bull, which has won every race so far this season, would be far more annoyed having the work revealed.

Asked by Autosport whether Mercedes had inspected images of its rival’s concept, Shovlin said: “I suspect they’re probably more annoyed at their car being left in the sky than we would be about ours.”

Many were quick to note that, when the RB19 was lifted, it stayed far more level than the Mercedes, which tipped towards its rear to suggest a biased weight distribution.

Marshals remove the car of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, from the circuit with a crane

Marshals remove the car of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, from the circuit with a crane

Photo by: Motorsport Images

But Shovlin downplayed the significance of this, saying: “Years ago, when your weight distribution could be anywhere between 48% and 43%, you paid a bit more attention... you could try and work out where the centre of gravity was.

“These days, you’ve got a pretty narrow window to work in by the regulations anyway.

“To be honest, with these regulations, the most important bit is the bit you don’t normally get to see.

“So, the teams will be all over those kinds of photographs. Monaco is a good opportunity to get that kind of shot.”

Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough added that the Red Bull’s wooden plank being exposed would provide teams with information about how the car was handling the bumps.

He said: “Obviously, there are some great photos! A lot of people were there so I’m sure the aerodynamicists will be having a good look at all the cars that were lifted up.

“Thankfully, ours hasn’t been lifted up yet. Let’s try and keep it that way!

“The aerodynamicists never want you to show that. You learn a lot from just even how the plank is wearing. You learn from what’s touching.

“There’s a lot of very excited aerodynamicists up and down the pitlane looking at all of that.”

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson downplayed the usefulness of the images, however, saying that the light levels made the Red Bull “difficult to copy”.

He said: “It seems so complex on a 2D photo, because of the way the light is so curved you can't figure any of it out.

“I guess it's just coincidental. They all do it like that because that's how they get the downforce, but it doesn't half make it difficult to copy!”

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