“Serious problem”, right?: Red Bull welcomes its own failure in the Formula 1 crash test

“Serious problem,” right?
Red Bull welcomes its own failure in the Formula 1 crash test

The test drives for the new Formula 1 season are scheduled to take place in Bahrain in February and will start at the same location at the beginning of March. Until then, all racing teams must have their new cars checked in a crash test. Red Bull Racing is now apparently failing – and sees this as confirmation of its work.

If Red Bull Racing has its way, the RB20 can be a bit better than the RB19. With the 2023 car, the world champion team dominated the last Formula 1 season at will, won 21 of 22 races and collected more points than the supposed challengers Mercedes and Ferrari in second and third place combined. Shortly after the turn of the year, however, reports started circulating that the car for 2024 had failed the mandatory crash test of the FIA, the world motorsport association. This looks like a problem – at least at first glance.

Helmut Marko, motorsport consultant for the Red Bull team, responded to questions about these reports with a surprising statement: “If we had passed the first crash test, there would be a problem.” According to the Italian edition of “motorsport.com”, there was a “serious problem” on the nose of the RB20, a structural weakness that led to its failure. So is there any reason to worry? Not for Marko. According to him, the failure was to a certain extent planned, even planned: “Otherwise we would have done a bad job.”

Red Bull seems to have developed a solution on the front of the vehicle that currently goes beyond the permitted limit. The nose of the RB20 will reportedly now be stabilized with another layer of carbon. An approach that has already been successfully used in previous cars. The team, based in Milton Keynes, England, is known for pushing the boundaries and sometimes overextending them. Even though design icon Adrian Newey is no longer involved in day-to-day business, his influence is still evident.

The search for the loophole

Technical director Pierre Wache recently told “motorsport.com” that Newey continues to be crucially involved in the development: “He comes more from the side and tries to help us or challenge us in various aspects. This could be mechanical design, aero or vehicle dynamics be.” Newey is simply “irreplaceable”.

Working your way up to the limit from the “illegal side” corresponds pretty much exactly to Newey’s way of finding the optimal design. The Briton always studies the rules “in order to decide how he can use them to his advantage,” the “Guardian” once wrote: “In doing so, he ignores what the rules are supposed to do and instead concentrates on determining what is wrong with him would have to let the wording get away with it.” Always with the aim of finding a “loophole that allows us to build a car faster than everyone else”.

Whether this has been achieved with the nose of the RB20 will only be shown in the test drives in Bahrain, which are scheduled for February 21st to 23rd. The first of 24 planned Grand Prix of the year will take place at the same location on the first weekend in March – due to Ramadan, the race will take place on Saturday this time. Red Bull Racing has to pass the crash test by then, there are no serious doubts about this, especially since it can be repeated without any problems. Rather, the competition is likely to see the failure as an indication and take a closer look at the front of the world champion car.

The specialist media also recognize that, despite its dominance in 2023, Red Bull does not seem to have let up in its continued aggressive search for improvements. Since Red Bull was one of the first teams to focus development on 2024, the design of the vehicle front is unlikely to be a quick fix, but rather build on the extremely successful concept of the previous season. For example, “formel1.de” names weight reduction as one of Red Bull Racing’s goals for 2024. The hunt for the fastest lap time is often about using as little material as necessary without jeopardizing reliability and still comply with all requirements.

source site-59