The secrets of Red Bull's RB16B F1 car revealed

After weeks of secrecy the design tricks of Red Bull's new RB16B challenger are slowly being revealed during Formula 1 pre-season testing. Autosport takes a look at the latest discoveries from the Bahrain paddock.

The secrets of Red Bull's RB16B F1 car revealed

Red Bull was one of the most secretive when it came to its new Formula 1 car launch, heavily restricting the number of images made available of the RB16B.

However, it finally had to unleash its car to the prying eyes of fans and rival teams in Bahrain testing this week, offering the chance to be able to learn a lot about its design concept – and latest updates.

Much of the interest about the Red Bull is about the rear of the car, with the team having spent its two development tokens on making adjustments to its gearbox carrier and rear suspension.

Although it will clearly have an effect, these changes have less to do with mechanical design requirements and everything to do with improving the car’s aerodynamics at the rear end - something that’s especially important when considering the changes made to reduce downforce this season.

Red Bull has drawn inspiration from rivals Mercedes when it comes to its new solution, reorienting the suspension in order that it is placed as high and rearward as possible.

PLUS: How Red Bull seized F1 2021's testing narrative

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

That allows the airflow to have a cleaner passage to the gap between the tyre sidewall and edge of the diffuser, over the diffuser bulge (which has also been extensively modified for 2021) and into the coke bottle channel in the centre of the car.

It’s interesting to see that while Red Bull has retained the single pillar design that wraps around the exhaust that it introduced late last season, it has made further changes for 2021.

The wastegate pipework, which had previously been split into two and was originally placed high up beside the main exhaust and was later moved into a lower position, has now been combined into just one larger wastegate outlet that sits beneath the main exhaust.

This has also resulted in a revised swept back hood shape for the pillar as it wraps around the two exhaust outlets compared with the 2020 arrangements (below).

Red Bull Racing RB16 exhaust comparison
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16

The latest updates

Interestingly, we have already started to see the car fitted with new aerodynamic trinkets when compared with the images released by the team just a few weeks ago too.

Mounted on the underside of the side impact protections spar’s fairing, there is a new control vane which was fitted to the car from the start of the test (green arrow).

This will help to guide the airflow that might ordinarily peel away from the sidepod’s undercut, keeping it closer to the car's bodywork and improve aerodynamic performance downstream.

 

On the opening day, Max Verstappen was treated to a further addition, with a quite bold strake added in the section of floor where the mandatory diagonal cutout has been made in the floor for this year (red arrow).

It’s a solution that has been seen elsewhere on the grid, albeit in a different guise, with the various designs used to facilitate the right effect depending on how the airflow is drawn toward it from the sidepod.

This also takes into account how hard it has already worked the airflow with the various aerodynamic solutions on the floor’s edge ahead of it.

Downstream of this another pair of more acutely outwardly angled, yet smaller, strakes (blue arrow) were added to the car on Saturday, as Sergio Perez took his turn at the wheel.

These new strakes sit ahead of the main strake that are all looking to compensate for the new floor cutout and loss of fully enclosed holes and slots that altered the flow around the rear tyre in previous years.

shares
comments
Raikkonen: Ferrari engine "in a better position" compared to 2020
Previous article

Raikkonen: Ferrari engine "in a better position" compared to 2020

Next article

Bottas: Mercedes W12 F1 has "snappy and unforgiving" rear end

Bottas: Mercedes W12 F1 has "snappy and unforgiving" rear end
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