Red Bull at “a higher level” – Rinland

2011 F1 cars

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Former F1 designer Sergio Rinland offered his thoughts on the Scuderia’s latest challenger, plus the new cars from Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus.

Rinland previously worked for Benetton and Arrows and is perhaps best known for his ‘twin-keel’ design on the 2001 Sauber C20.

He says the RB7 is at “a higher level” than the rival cars launched so far and believes Ferrari are now “followers” when it comes to F1 car design.

Ferrari F150

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Valencia, 2011
Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Valencia, 2011

From the outside, it transpires that now has become a “follower” instead of a “leader”. This is what happens when rule mature and one car shows that way, as it has the Red Bull.

The front of the car now has a clear high nose, the Red Bull trend, allowing the use of below the nose barge boards and deflectors to improve the flow to the rear diffuser. The front wing shown so far it looks as last years, and bearing in mind that this element alone equates for a big chunk of aero performance in a modern F1 car (even more that in the past, “thanks” to the new rules of wings in front of the tyres), I would venture to say that the real F150 front wing is still cooking.

The sidepods show that the had to use some of the side channels volume for cooling due to the use of KERS.

The rear end, even if they still use push rods, looks as if Ferrari had found a different solution than the Red Bull to clean the flow to the lower rear wing, achieving a good result. From the bulges we see on the pictures, it looks as if they had located the dampers on the side of the engine cam covers to clean up the top of the gear box and hence the air flow to the rear.

The rear diffuser looks too clean and simple to be true, that is the second high performance differentiator of a modern F1 car, so again, expect more to come on this area before the first race.

For what they have said, I understand that they have opted for the KERS unit fitter in front of the engine, hence transmitting the power “through” the crank shaft of the V8 unit.

This solution has the advantage of weight distribution, by locating the KERS unit around the CG of the car, but the disadvantage of compromising the reliability of the engine itself. It will be interesting to see what Ferrari’s competitors are doing on this respect.
Sergio Rinland

Red Bull RB7

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

The Red Bull has taken all the solutions seen on the other cars to a higher level. The attention to detail is gorgeous, the head rest, the exhaust exit the rear wing adjuster, all neat and purposeful.

The nose is a development of last year?s just adapted to the new rule, with a neat treatment underneath the chassis to improve the flow downstream.

The rear end is as clean as you can get it, and so neat that looks simple, as all good solutions should look. As we said, the exhaust exit is neat, but here is probably where the Renault has had a more innovative idea.

The rear wing flap adjuster is neat and allows them to have more freedom with the end plates shape and thickness.
Sergio Rinland

Mercedes W02

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Valencia, 2011
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Valencia, 2011

As what we said for Ferrari, Mercedes had to follow on the Red Bull footsteps, down to the rear push rod suspension type.

A very clean rear end as a consequence, with a blowing exhaust, that for the look of its current shape, it has a lot of development ahead of it, if we compare it with the Red Bull or the more adventurous Renault.

The front end has a nose as high as it can be, very similar to the Red Bull, which demonstrates the convergence of solutions as a set of rules mature into its second and third year. The side pods are a development of last year, but with wider radiators, due to the cooling needs of KERS.

Interestingly, while Lotus follow last year?s Mercedes roll hoop, the later had opted for a conventional system.
Sergio Rinland


Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Valencia, 2011
Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Valencia, 2011

What really got my attention was the roll hoop, very much like the Mercedes last year, very strange, I thought it was banned!

Nevertheless, I was never a big fan of splitting engine ducts; it is very tricky because when in yaw, it may have enough pressure differentials from one side to the other to create circulation.

The rear end is clean, but not as good as the Red Bull, even though it has the same engine and gearbox.

The front end is what has become “standard practice” in F1, with a nose as high as possible. The front suspension shows the push rod at the lower wishbone, hence the steep wishbones.

As far as we know, Lotus will not use KERS initially, hence it must have the advantage of smaller radiators and perhaps a lower centre of gravity, it should benefit from that in the first races until all the KERS teams get their act together.
Sergio Rinland

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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56 comments on “Red Bull at “a higher level” – Rinland”

  1. thanks that was quite informative. is sergio going to pass judgement on the other teams? i would like to know about the really small rear of the williams and of course renault’s bonkers hot rod exhausts

    1. That brings to mind something I had not yet thought of when it comes to Renault’s new exhausts. Routing exhaust to the front is shorter than routing it to the back, therefore the pipes will be shorter, could that in turn lead to an increase in engine power, and make up for the lack of power that the Renault engine has had against its competitors in recent seasons? Any engine experts want to tackle this one for me?

    2. Miliardo Peacecraft
      4th February 2011, 1:08

      I agree, Zecks. I would like to see his take on all of the teams.

  2. Good article and insight. Interesting little bit I hadn’t considered about the Lotus radiators.

  3. I hope this doesn’t translate into the kind of domination we saw last year from Red Bull. Im hoping for a more level playing field

    1. Yea. If we can match the closeness of last season, it should be fantastic.

      1. The car looks dominant again, but are the drivers? Last year, IMO the RBR driver mistakes are really what made the year interesting by letting Ham, Alo, and maybe But keep up and take over the points lead…Maybe Vet has matured a bit and will be more calm and dominant, but I kinda hope not.

  4. What about Renault?

  5. If the Mercedes is following in Red Bull footsteps, wouldn’t it have a pull-rod suspension rather than push-rod?

    1. Well they had to come up with a new solution to the push-rod problem. Actually he means Ferrari isn’t the car that other teams are looking at to copy their innovation as it used to be in the recent past.

      1. I’m just saying I think there is a mistake in the text. Don’t Mercedes and Red Bull both have a pull-rod suspension?

        1. Forget about the text, he is not a natural english speaker. The message is what we should focus on. It doesn’t matter if t he Mercedes has pull rod or push rods, just the fact that the teams are now repackaging their suspension and by extension, gearboxes, in order to get a neat rear end arrangement, is what he is talking about.

          I too noticed a few discrepancies in the quote(s), but I decided to focus on his summary than the individual points.

          1. Oh, silly me, I thought reading the text was a good way of finding the message! I expect engineers to want to be precise in what they say.

          2. Says one engineer to the other: “what are we gonna do with that … You know… erm … that (mumbles) rod thingy, you know somewhere at THE back of the car …erm … Well, just make it a tight package …”

  6. Great article – however, is the Red Bull gearbox in the Lotus an up-to-date model? I was under the impression it may have been last year’s Red Bull gearbox in the Lotus, with Red Bull having an updated unit this year…

    1. No the Lotus gearbox is from the RB5 09 car – it’s not the same as the double diffuser modified RB6 or the current RB7.

      1. Wow, Lotus must have been really keen to get rid of that xtrac gearbox if they had to replace it with the RB5’s from 09! That said, I am sure it will pay off for them. The reason Red Bull is now the team to beat is the RB5, they adapted to the 09′ rule changes better than anyone (Brawn was a one hit wonder) and now they are bearing the fruits of their labor.

        1. Actually they were very keen for it, I understand. Thing is, this years GB is for use with KERS, not something you would want if your not running that.
          And last years GB was finely tuned to have as big a DDD below it as possible, really not the way to go if you want a tight and low back end.

  7. Funnily enough, I “dared” to mention that Ferrari were followers of everyone else early last week, and I was absolutely hammered by Ferrari fans :-)

    In my experience of a lot of industries, and F1 will be no less the same, the best innovators (people wise) make innovations without the fear of failure and without the fear of reprisals.

    I would not like to be an F1 designer/engineer/strategist in Maranello for exactly that reason. Let them design, make a few mistakes, but dont fire them/send them back to the factory when they make a bad call.

    Are you listening Ferrari, probably not ;-)

    Just an opinion…

    1. like they’re bothered

      1. I didn’t say Ferrari would be hanging on my every word did I?

        I’m not a technical director, and I wasnt claiming to be. But Mr Rinland was.

        I’m expressing an opinion which is equally as valid as yours (whether you agree with it or not).

    2. I think the reason people got upset is because they took what you said as a blanket statement that Ferrari are followers in general. In reality, every team except the winning team is a follower to some degree in F1 and it’s been that way for a while. You were absolutely right to say that Ferrari have become followers in 2010 and 2011 and now you have an expert backing you up, but maybe it upset people because they thought you meant that Ferrari, with their combined 31 titles, are followers in general….

      1. You at least read what I said as it was intended.

        I have massive respect for the achievements of Ferrari over the years, with all of their titles.

        That doesnt mean they always do things right, and that doesnt mean anyone expressing a different opinion are wrong :-)

        My point was that a fear culture can stifle innovation in any industry (F1 included).

        I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the racing to begin ;-)

        1. of course, tombazis & costa looked like they were quaking in their boots at the launch. Maranello a real horror factory, why does anyone bother working there?

        2. Agreed. I also think that a team like Ferrari with all of their achievements are under more of a microscope. When Sauber copies a design from RBR people say, good thinking. When Ferrari does it, they’ve lost their way….

          The superbowl is this Sunday – Go Packers….then I sit around and wait for March 11!!

    3. Ferrari hasn’t been truly innovative since the 09 rule changes went int effect. The last time they were innovative was in 2008, when they came up with the air scoop in the nose of the car.

  8. Sergio Rindland: the argentinean im planning to follow in my carreer!

  9. how exactly are Ferrari “followers?” they have gone their own way in regards to the pull/pushrod system. They are going a different way in kers packaging. what a load of bull.

    1. They haven’t came up with anything really new and are following RBR’s lead most of the time it seems.

      They maybe sticking with pushrod suspension but I thought they copied that from RBR in the first place?

      1. Ferrari have used the pushrod system for years. You can’t see anything new because its only the first test and half of the stuff is not even been put on the car. You can’t see anything underneath the skin so how do you know they haven’t got something different from red bull?

  10. the high nose is not a red bull innovation. it existed in F1 long before red bull existed. many teams adopted it in 2009 after the rule changes (BMW had a higher nose than red Bull)

    How can he say that everyone with a high nose is following red bull? is he adrian’s secret love affair maybe?

    1. The first high nose was, I believe, the Tyrell 019 in 1990 :)

      1. That I believe is true. But they dumped it somewhat and Benetton actually made it more popular for many years. Then it fell out of fashion or well lets say the chin did drop a bit. But then it found a resurgence in other teams while, Renualt, ex Benetton went for a lower nose.
        In all honesty, I doubt RBR have had the highest nose, I feel its just the absence of various aerodynamic parts we have got used to in recent times, that makes the nose all seem so high.

        1. There may be an absence of various aerodynamic parts, but go back and look at cars from earlier this decade, they look so simple in comparison to today’s cars. A funny thing happened when the aero appendages were banned, it made aerodynamicists work harder. Now instead of relying on flip ups and covers and this and that, we have the most aero sculpted bodies ever to take to the grid!

          1. I don’t disagree with you.

    2. all teams copied Red Bull’s 2009 nose in 2010. So they all went that way.

      The only team trying different was Mercedes. And you now see their nose is high and flat… just like Red Bull’s.

  11. Hi all,

    We have also many comments from Joerg Zander and Craig Scarborough at the website. All the guys are going to comment on all the cars. I know that sometimes the translation from Greek is hard, but you will read the comments in English also :)

  12. Yeah, I’m kinda not quite following Mr. Rinland here. He starts of by saying Ferrari are a follower and then continues by listing all the stuff they do different. Except for the nose and the rear diffuser, which he says must be interim options and we haven’t seen the real thing yet. I agree with vjanik that he sounds a bit like he’s in love with Adrian Newey’s work.

  13. Merc’s nose cone is like a Platypus’ beak. Isn’t it?

    1. Nature offers an abundance of innovative soltutions to technical issues!

  14. Great tech insight, off course the scoop of being the first (and only?) to have pictures of Renaults exhaust openings was a great follow up of ScrabsF1 describing it with drawings.
    Love the work done in getting all the technical details over for the hardcore fans here.

    1. Absolutely.

      I’m interested to see the McLaren tomorrow. I saw a tweet last night (scarbs I think but it may have been someone else) saying the FFE may not be on the mclaren.

      We’ll see tomorrow.

      What is for sure is that a lot of the top teams are holding their best kit for Bahrain ;-)

  15. The only thing I disagree with is the air intake statement. Naturally aspirated engines suck air in through the air intake so performance shouldn’t be affected by yaw in the slightest.

    Only supercharged engines would be affected by this if at all. Even turbo engines suck the air in through the intake by accelerating the exhaust.

    1. But at speeds you also have Ram air induction.
      Air is a funny thing, you never know when it wants to go round in circles at the slightest opportunity.

      And you can’t accelerate an exhaust you can use an exhaust to rotate a turbine.

    2. By accelerating the exhaust? :)

  16. Fred Schechter
    3rd February 2011, 16:37

    A good point about Ferrari’s newest kit not being on the car yet.
    I’d love to know on the strategy and planning side if this is the case, how they lay out that scheduling and account for learning new tricks from the first test and implementing them prior to the first race. Do they keep an entire engineering crew in a lull for when the first test occurs and throw them at analyzing/implementing new concepts from other teams (if so, clever) or just fit into existing workflow and back schedule to the nearest possible completion date?
    Always wonder about this side of F1.
    The pointy end of the spear sure is pointy!

    1. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
      3rd February 2011, 20:01

      Domenicali did say that the car seen in Bahrain would be very different from the one seen at launch

      1. As happens every year, even if they only change a bolt or 2.

  17. From his thought it seems like that Red Bull still have the best machine with Ferrari & Mercedes following will be interesting to see what is his thoughts on Renault & Mclaren when the later is launched tomorrow.

  18. It’s arduous to seek out educated folks on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  19. Keith get this guy back to do the williams and the mclaren!!

  20. rinwho?
    the guy looks he is having a love affair with Adrian Newey. He is saying redbull at a higher level than the rivals, but when it comes to explain why well I don’t see any kind of a real technical explanation. The only word he is using “neat” (7 times) in redbull section. what neat has to do with performance and new technological development of a car. Are we having a f1 compettion or a knitting one? I would choose in a heartbeat a ugly winning car instead of a neat car.
    Nothing educative in his comments . much more expected when you try to do technical analysis specially if you call yourself chief designer.

  21. As a former F1 designer, surely You must be impressed with Newey. As a competing F1 designer with another team, surely You must be annoyed with him – a kind of Love-Hate relationship. You have to keep an eye on everything he does, and then try to do better. In the process You find yourself doing worse most of the time…
    And I love Andy C’s comment on how to suppress innovation in a fear induced work environment. However You can sometimes create a lot of anger/hate generated innovation/work, by having a big conflict over something. But generally the managers must support brave attempts to try something completely new.

  22. I bet Ferrari won’t like the ‘followers’ tag! Anyways what an awesome commentary by an expert designer, really fascinating perspective on the new designs.. I agree would like to see opinions on all the cars.

  23. Its obvious that Sergio has a lot of respect for Newey – hence the gushing review for the RB7.

    Right now everything Newey does is considered innovative and brilliant and neat :)

    I am quite curious to see how teams handle KERS this year and if it will be an advantage for teams that used it in 2009

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