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That could well be the secret of Max and the Red Bull car, but I'd like to offer an even more far fetched theory....
Correlation
I believe that under the direction of Adrian Newey, the Red Bull team are the leaders in getting the 'holy trinity' of the mechanical modelling, the wind tunnel running and the CFD to correlate with the real car 'on track' behaviour.
I'm currently preparing a column on this subject for the publication Racecar Engineering and I'm having a great deal of trouble getting any of my contacts in F1 talking about the subject. That indicates to be that I'm stepping into a very sensitive area!
The fact that Mercedes are continually surprised by their pace (or lack of it) at any given venues and Red Bull aren't tends to support this.
So I believe that it is nothing physical on the car that you can see, but a process and understanding of the car that is making the difference.

Of course I could be wrong....but I know after 40 years in motorsport that understanding what the car is doing is the key to going quickly.
Adrian talks in his book about having difficulty achieving good correlation between the wind tunnel and his maths. Turned out to be the floor of the tunnel moving/deflecting as a function of air speed. I’m sure this particular issue is well known, but there are bound to be a number of subtleties in play that have real impact on actual aero performance. The sums used to make my head spin a bit when we covered model testing back in my college days, and we were only doing simple stuff.
 
I believe that under the direction of Adrian Newey, the Red Bull team are the leaders in getting the 'holy trinity' of the mechanical modelling, the wind tunnel running and the CFD to correlate with the real car 'on track' behaviour.
My suspicion is that you’re bang on with that analysis.

Back in the Vettel era, Red Bull had one year when their performance really tailed off (can’t remember which year it was). Subsequently I worked with a guy who did much for RBR in that period in terms of their data management and he told me that the issue they’d had at that stage was that the CFD and wind tunnel outputs just didn’t correlate well with on track behaviour. Once they got that right, their performance increased massively.
 
I think Mr Chandhok put it well.

Appreciate the dominance up front and enjoy the battles behind.

Perfect analogy. Awesome racing throughout the field today.

AND a McLaren p2. 🥳
I do appreciate what Red Bull have done from an engineering viewpoint, but from a sporting viewpoint it sucks.
 
Distorted timeline?
My good friend Martin Brundle had a really nasty shunt at Monaco in 1984. He was stopped going out in the spare car just after this by Ken Tyrrell when he asked which way he should turn out of the pitroad....:eek: Safety and medical procedures have improved since then!

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He would go on to follow James Hunt as Murray Walkers co commentator in 1997.

But had this all been predicted 20 years earlier (1977) in this Monaco photo 'Jesus Saves Martin behind James Hunt'....:dk:

james_hunt_jesus_saves.jpeg
 
The only time that the Red Bull racing cars seem to lose their performance advantage is in the wet.This makes me suspect that their superior "ground effect aerodynamics" are actually much the same as other Formula One cars. The secret of their enhanced performance is their ability to achieve this downforce while minimising tyre wear/performance degradation. Degradation / wear is minimised in the wet to a greater extent leading to a more even matched racing field???? Just a thought-is it basically a tyre mediated advantage?
 
The only time that the Red Bull racing cars seem to lose their performance advantage is in the wet.This makes me suspect that their superior "ground effect aerodynamics" are actually much the same as other Formula One cars. The secret of their enhanced performance is their ability to achieve this downforce while minimising tyre wear/performance degradation. Degradation / wear is minimised in the wet to a greater extent leading to a more even matched racing field???? Just a thought-is it basically a tyre mediated advantage?
Switching the tyres on and keeping them in ‘the window’ for a useful period is very much a key aspect of achieving race performance. Mercedes have typically struggled to find the right balance on this (hence DAS) and continue to struggle. The car is either unable to warm the tyres up or it’s too aggressive and cooks them.

Rain is a great leveller because of the effect on traction and mechanical grip, which effectively become the same for everyone, placing much more emphasis on a driver’s ability to find what grip there is and drive just within that limit. It literally sorts out the ‘men from the boys’.

What Red Bull seem to have achieved, is a stable, low drag solution to achieving excellent downforce that doesn’t destroy the tyres. So I think they are getting more out of the ground effect and airflow management aspects of their car than the rest. They also have one of the quickest drivers of all time sat in the car. The result is a very tough combination for everyone else to compete with.

Until another team in the pack makes a step change in their understanding and application, Max will not have to race with anybody for the rest of the season.
 
I think RB are cheating somehow & just haven't been caught yet.
Maybe, maybe not. A comment from Newey recently said that the current regulations are the most restrictive ever in F1, which suggests very complex regulations with on the face of it, little wiggle room.

However with complexity come options for interpretation. So RBR may well have found a novel interpretation of the technical regs that gives them a performance advantage. On the other hand, if they have a better understanding of their car and how it responds to changes in setup and conditions than other teams, that will give them an edge too.
 
The increasingly technical and physical demands of driving an F1 CAR seems to be leading to younger and younger drivers. As such there are interesting parallels to be drawn with fighter pilot training.
What is the "optimal" age of a fighter pilot?
Appart from the obvious better reaction times and physical fitness the less obvious one is the cerebral ability to rapidly assimilate new information and utilise it which begins to gradually tail off at a surprisingly young age----23+ Experience and training can often compensate of course but the younger brain always will have have that inbuilt advantage.
Add to that 'who gives a $hit' attitude of youth , most of us have a moment when we think 'WTF was I thinking back then...? ' :doh: . I know I do ! mainly regarding motorcycles , alcohol and guns .

Sometimes all 3 at the same time ! 😲

Iv grown up a bit now.....just a bit.
 
I think RB are cheating somehow & just haven't been caught yet.
They are well known to explore the outer limits of interpretation of the rules - and do it with bravado - so I can understand why some people think that. However they’re doing it - by cheating or simply by being the best - they’re doing it well.
 
Maybe, maybe not. A comment from Newey recently said that the current regulations are the most restrictive ever in F1, which suggests very complex regulations with on the face of it, little wiggle room.

I think it's telling that the cars look so similar. We saw Mercedes go down a different route with sidepods and then revert.

Back in the 80s we had more variation - not just in body shapes - but also different engines.

Modern cars have homogenised engines and homogenised aerodynamics.

The driver out front tends to have a slightly faster car - and tends to have cleaner air. They can optimise use their energy recovery system for lap speed rather than racing defence or attack. They can protect their tyres. Dominant running with a decent team mate also means using the team mate's strategy to enable the leader's strategy. So that slightly faster car becomes a significantly faster car over race distance. Mandatory pit stops mean the car out front able to better manage its tyres can gain strategy advantage over other teams fighting for position. Blue flags and overtaking rules for lapped cars smooth the leader's progress.

Reliability improvements and better fuel management mean we see fewer DNFs.

I would put in tougher restrictions on aero - reduce the size/surface area. Remove energy recovery systems. Just set a maximum engine capacity with no limits on revs or cylinders.
 
I think it's telling that the cars look so similar. We saw Mercedes go down a different route with sidepods and then revert.

Back in the 80s we had more variation - not just in body shapes - but also different engines.

Modern cars have homogenised engines and homogenised aerodynamics.

The driver out front tends to have a slightly faster car - and tends to have cleaner air. They can optimise use their energy recovery system for lap speed rather than racing defence or attack. They can protect their tyres. Dominant running with a decent team mate also means using the team mate's strategy to enable the leader's strategy. So that slightly faster car becomes a significantly faster car over race distance. Mandatory pit stops mean the car out front able to better manage its tyres can gain strategy advantage over other teams fighting for position. Blue flags and overtaking rules for lapped cars smooth the leader's progress.
And, if running at the front no need for DRS overspeed so shorter gearing is viable.
Reliability improvements and better fuel management mean we see fewer DNFs.
Wondering how much of that is due to tyre management. To nurse tyres is to nurse the entire car.
I would put in tougher restrictions on aero - reduce the size/surface area. Remove energy recovery systems. Just set a maximum engine capacity with no limits on revs or cylinders.
Only quibble with that is the power limit would be better managed with a maximum fuel flow and/or allowance. Otherwise, how would you ascertain the 'capacity' of say, a gas turbine? Or decide whether the entire swept volume of a piston engine should be counted or only the part allocated to compression and expansion (in the former the swept volume of a 4T has to be doubled, in the latter, the swept volume of a 2T is half normally counted).
 
Add to that 'who gives a $hit' attitude of youth , most of us have a moment when we think 'WTF was I thinking back then...? ' :doh: . I know I do ! mainly regarding motorcycles , alcohol and guns .

Sometimes all 3 at the same time ! 😲

Iv grown up a bit now.....just a bit.
I had a mate at Uni whose main ambition in life was to fly Buccaneers in the Fleet Air Arm. He was bright - mathematics degree, super fit highly motivated and fitted all the criteria necessary for pilot training. He was accepted into the training school in the full knowledge that only a select few would be accepted for operational flying duties. He was 23 at the time but the majority of his class were 19 – 20 years old. He ended up as a helicopter navigator when he realised that although he could assimilate the same training information as his fellow classmates it would take him 2 to 3 days whereas his fellow classmates could do it in an afternoon. Here's a taster

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Maybe Red Bull have discovered somehow to combine /distribute both localised shockwave lift and aerodynamic downforce in the same chassis and thus relieving tyre wear without losing downforce for the main chassis?
Highly unlikely!
We know that after the Red Bull car was hoisted aloft in Monaco that their floor is more complex than most others in F1. I think that that they have been able to develop this using all their well correlated tools and get the results that they see in simulation, on the circuit.
The idea of getting most of the downforce directly to the wheels and tyres is one that has been played with for decades, first with wings on pylons mounted on the uprights of the cars and then into separate chassis as Lotus did briefly prior to it being (like the pylon wings) banned.
I got to work with the guy who designed the twin chassis Lotus during the 90's, Martin Ogilvie. A very forward thinking and talented guy who designed some amazing things, if sometimes a little complex!
Later, during the Bentley project, the Chief Designer and I would refer to things which could be simplified as 'Ogilvarian concepts'.....

It is interesting to note that two of Mercedes concepts of their 'zero pod' car have now appeared on the Red Bull. The tiny rad intakes and the 'tube' air exits are now working well on this years Red Bull. I reasonably sure that the ability to be able to correlate those 'add ons' with the rest of the car proves that Mercedes are being innovative enough, if not being able to tell how those things are going to work on track.
 
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Highly unlikely!
We know that after the Red Bull car was hoisted aloft in Monaco that their floor is more complex than most others in F1. I think that that they have been able to develop this using all their well correlated tools and get the results that they see in simulation, on the circuit.
The idea of getting most of the downforce directly to the wheels and tyres is one that has been played with for decades, first with wings on pylons mounted on the uprights of the cars and then into separate chassis as Lotus did briefly prior to it being (like the pylon wings) banned.
I got to work with the guy who designed the twin chassis Lotus during the 90's, Martin Ogilvie. A very forward thinking and talented guy who designed some amazing things, if sometimes a little complex!
Later, during the Bentley project, the Chief Designer and I would refer to things which could be simplified as 'Ogilvarian concepts'.....

It is interesting to note that two of Mercedes concepts of their 'zero pod' car have now appeared on the Red Bull. The tiny rad intakes and the 'tube' air exits are now working well on this years Red Bull. I reasonably sure that the ability to be able to correlate those 'add ons' with the rest of the car proves that Mercedes are being innovative enough, if not being able to tell how those things are going to work on track.
I remember a comment from Newey about the MB zero sidepod concept, saying that it was an interesting idea that he’d not considered. Not surprised to see aspects of it on the Red Bull. Had Mercedes got to the bottom of the aero-induced porpoising, I think the zero pod car may well have been very quick.

What must be baffling for Mercedes, is last year at COTA. The car looked absolutely planted. Yes it abused the skid blocks a little leading (correctly) to disqualification, but it was a very quick setup. When they tried that setup again, it was not as quick… not even close.

One assumes MB will get there in the end, they’re not short of talent or resource but they do seem to be missing a piece of the puzzle somewhere.
 
Highly unlikely!
We know that after the Red Bull car was hoisted aloft in Monaco that their floor is more complex than most others in F1. I think that that they have been able to develop this using all their well correlated tools and get the results that they see in simulation, on the circuit.
The idea of getting most of the downforce directly to the wheels and tyres is one that has been played with for decades, first with wings on pylons mounted on the uprights of the cars and then into separate chassis as Lotus did briefly prior to it being (like the pylon wings) banned.
I got to work with the guy who designed the twin chassis Lotus during the 90's, Martin Ogilvie. A very forward thinking and talented guy who designed some amazing things, if sometimes a little complex!
Later, during the Bentley project, the Chief Designer and I would refer to things which could be simplified as 'Ogilvarian concepts'.....

It is interesting to note that two of Mercedes concepts of their 'zero pod' car have now appeared on the Red Bull. The tiny rad intakes and the 'tube' air exits are now working well on this years Red Bull. I reasonably sure that the ability to be able to correlate those 'add ons' with the rest of the car proves that Mercedes are being innovative enough, if not being able to tell how those things are going to work on track.
Can't wait to read all about this in your book Mac. ;)
 
I guess it must be true....but I'm struggling to believe that 220kg wet weight claim....GSXR1100 engine alone weights 80kg with the oil.. The 140 kg left is not a lots for everything else. The bike the engine came from weighed 254kg wet!.....
 

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