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Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

How McLaren’s challenge is forcing Red Bull to ramp up its F1 upgrade game

Red Bull’s previous advantage in Formula 1 meant it had the luxury of being able to take its time with upgrades – biding its time for less frequent but bigger steps.

Red Bull RB20 front wing comparison

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

But as McLaren has closed in on the Milton Keynes-based squad, it is now under pressure to ensure that it leaves no performance on the table.

And, with less than one tenth of a second being the difference between pole position and off the front row in Imola, Red Bull knows it has to throw everything it can at it now to avoid falling back.

That is why it arrived at Imola with a handful of new parts for the RB20 that looked to tidy up some of the car’s weaknesses.

At the front of the car there was a new front wing, featuring a revised flap layout that also constituted a change to the nose too.

To increase the load being generated by the assembly, the team has extended the flap’s chord length in the moveable section of the upper two flaps.

The shape change for the upper flap’s trailing edge is noted by the dotted white line in the main picture, with the new arrangement at the bottom of the image. The chord and angle of attack are different of the two specifications, as the sponsorship logo is more dominant with the new design.

In order to facilitate this, the fixed sections beside the nose and the nose itself have been modified too, whilst the stalks that the camera pods sit on aft of this have also been altered in order that they work in unison with the new flow regime (red arrows).

The wing’s outer extremities have also been fettled, with the leading edge of the endplate being altered (green highlight), which has an impact on the remainder of the surface and exposes the diveplane to a revised flow regime too.

Red Bull Racing RB20 technical detail

Red Bull Racing RB20 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, the team also optimised its floor and edge wing’s design, with the ramped SIS cover section of the floor reconfigured to improve flow both above and below the surface.

Taking advantage of the revised pathways created, the edge wing has also been subtly modified, with the shedding surfaces below the element repositioned.

At the rear of the car there were also changes to the rear brake duct, as the outlet has been modified to improve throughout, which has also led to the winglets stacked around it being reconfigured too.

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