The 2020 Formula 1 World Championship will officially start in less than two weeks, and there are many expectations regarding the competitiveness of the Red Bull RB16 in Austria.
The RB16, as we have seen during the February tests, looks set to be the main adversary to the Mercedes W11 – unless of course Ferrari’s ‘B-spec’ SF1000 can flip the pecking order on its head!
The single-seater designed by technical guru Adrian Newey for the ’20 season has many design divergences compared to the old RB15. Newey has renewed many areas of the car, some of which are completely new, despite relatively stable regulations.
The front area of the RB16 has seen the introduction of a narrow muzzle with the long flow diverter (see arrows below), also known as the ‘cape’. This choice is inspired by what has already been seen on Mercedes for several seasons, and the purpose of this solution is to reduce drag and body dimensions.
During the pre-season tests, Red Bull also tried two different front wing solutions, concentrating the development work on a wing more oriented towards “out-wash”. The nose is also quite different to that of 2019, and besides being narrower it also has several air holes.
What is out-wash? This is where the front-wing channels air around the external face of the front-tyre, rather than over it or inside. Previously teams have tried to push air over the wheel, but with the new regulations, there is a trend for out-wash front wings.
Front Suspension Secrets
The real secrets of the RB16, however, are found on the front suspension, which presents many new features compared to last year’s car.
To taper the nose Newey has completely revised the B-B section of the single-seater: The steering column is backward and separated from the suspension triangle, which continues to use the pull-rod scheme. The lower triangle is multi-link, while last year it was the upper one to have the attachment of the separate arms.
The lower triangle is also very narrow and asymmetrical with respect to the upper one. One arm is a single element in the lower triangle, and has been reinforced to allow Red Bull to pass crash tests for the RB16.
All kinematic mechanisms have been specifically designed to better manage the front tyres, ensuring excellent grip by reducing the phenomenon of graining. The illustration above shows the entire B-B section of the frame, where you can see the two air ducts at the bottom on the sides to cool the electronic part.
Further technical innovations for Red Bull are also found at the rear of the car, with a revised rear wing and support pillars.
Last year the rear wing was supported by a single central element, which wrapped around the engine exhaust. Taking inspiration from Mercedes and Ferrari, Newey wanted to introduce the “swan neck” double pylon for ’20, to have a more homogeneous down force transmission in the wheel axle.
The exhausts of the waste-gate resume the changes of mid-season ’19, blowing in an area higher up the sides of the large central exhaust of the internal combustion engine.