How Red Bull turned its 2018 RB14 Formula 1 car into a winner

Red Bull's Chinese Grand Prix victory owed much to clever strategy and brilliant racecraft from Daniel Ricciardo, but development of its RB14 2018 Formula 1 car also helped

How Red Bull turned its 2018 RB14 Formula 1 car into a winner

The team was keen to avoid a repeat of its slow start under the new car regulations last year, and this season's contender features aggressive development of concepts that were added to 2017's RB13 as the team played catch-up.

Suspension tweaks

The image above shows Red Bull is going about things differently this year, as the 'heave', third or J-Damper of the last few years (see 2017) has featured a mechanical link, complete with a Belleville spring arrangement and separate hydraulic component.

The RB14's damper has been redesigned and outwardly appears to have been switched for a hydraulic version (see 2018), as the team looks to enhance the suspension's compliance, improving both mechanical grip and aerodynamic consistency.

The damper's responsibility in controlling heave (the vertical displacement of the suspension) is critical in how the car performs aerodynamically at varying speeds. It also performs a pivotal role in controlling the oscillations and shape changes induced by the deformation of the tyre.

This could be playing a key role in Red Bull's ability to get more out of the tyres in race trim compared to Mercedes and Ferrari, which proved key to the strategy that allowed Ricciardo to snatch victory in China.

Aerodynamic push

As far as the aerodynamic package goes, the areas worked on during 2017 continue to be the focus for development this season.

The car features a Ferrari-esque low-slung side impact support spar and rearwardly positioned sidepod inlet.

Changes were made ahead of the season opener though, with additional stiffening devices (white and red arrows) added in order to shore up the collection of devices which are susceptible to flutter when loaded, reducing their aerodynamic efficiency.

Red Bull also introduced a new wing mirror set-up in Melbourne (see below), placing the innermost support on the side of the chassis, rather than on top (red arrow).

The outermost support was pulled forward and is now housed on the leading edge of the sidepod (white arrow).

This is a decision based around aerodynamics, rather than having a structural purpose, with the new mirror stalk improving flow into the sidepod inlet.

Floor changes

The team also revised the area just ahead of the rear tyres in Bahrain, turning up the edge of the floor in order that it invoke a different aerodynamic reaction, as explained in more detail here by Gary Anderson.

It's a solution already run by its sister team Toro Rosso (inset), which made the change late into its 2017 campaign.

shares
comments
Formula 1 mustn't 'dumb down like IndyCar' - Haas boss Steiner
Previous article

Formula 1 mustn't 'dumb down like IndyCar' - Haas boss Steiner

Next article

Carlos Sainz Jr still learning Nico Hulkenberg's Renault 'tricks'

Carlos Sainz Jr still learning Nico Hulkenberg's Renault 'tricks'
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022