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'
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Giorgio Piola
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021