Red Bull RB14, 2018

Red Bull RB14: Technical analysis

F1 technology

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Red Bull has traditionally left it late to launch its new car, and then only shown as little of it as possible. But the team made a disappointing start to the new season 12 months ago and decided to shake things up by ‘disrupting’ its usual arrangements.

The RB14 broke cover on Monday and the team not only showed off more of the car than usual, but also sent it for a test run around Silverstone. However they were still keen to keep some of its design secrets hidden.

The RB14 that trundled round a wet Silverstone on Monday certainly looks the part in its one-off test livery. Under its fresh skin the early signs are promising for a team which needs to hit the ground running this time.

Red Bull RB14, 2018
Red Bull RB14 nose

As per most car launches, Red Bull have kept their powder dry by retaining the front wing and nose configuration from the end of last year. The retention of the S-duct shows that this feature will more than likely be part of any further updates.

Red Bull RB14, 2018
Red Bull RB14 front suspension

Things begin to get more interesting around the front suspension. The suspension has long been constrained by aerodynamics, so there is little scope to produce anything too innovative given the minimal space given to the designers.

Indeed Red Bull was one of the first to bring back pullrod rear suspension for this reason. The general concept of controlling the car under load is well understood and although we have seen many new tricks over recent years, these have all been orientated around aerodynamic gains.

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Mercedes and Toro Rosso pushed the boat out further last year with a horned king pin arrangement for the upper wishbone, allowing them to lie the A-arm horizontally and also raise the lower wishbone below – this was done to clear the arms from the front wing’s wake and open up a clearer path for air to travel over the bargeboards. Red Bull have not copied this directly on the RB14 but have had a similar train of thought. The inboard mounts, for the upper wishbone in particular, are brought forward and jut out from the chassis, manipulating the airflow in a tidier manner as it journeys along the side of the tub.

Red Bull RB14, 2018
Red Bull RB14 sidepods

At its midriff the RB14 carries forward ideas from 2017 with a bit more aggression. Like the other cars we have seen so far Red Bull have adopted the low slung impact spar to form the lower leading edge of the sidepod inlet and with it an aggressive undercut. The spar extends out to support the revised deflector wings, although curiously this was edited out in one particular photo:

Red Bull RB14 brightened
Now we see it…
Red Bull RB14 brightened
…now we don’t

Is this a sensitive detail in itself, or is Red Bull attempting to deflect attention elsewhere on the car?

The inlet itself lies further back and sits perpendicularly to the oncoming flow – a large horizontal vane hoods the opening, circumnavigating the angled inlet regulation.

The size and profile of the sidepods themselves are a thing of beauty and are certainly of Red Bull blood: small, leaning inwards and hugging the car centreline. It will be very interesting to see how the radiators have been packaged within.

Red Bull RB14, 2018
Red Bull RB14 Halo and engine air intake

Up above the airbox has been redesigned to deal with the wake coming off the Halo, while the engine cover features split lines along its spine which suggest that there are different options to be tried over the testing period.

The back of the car appears largely unchanged so far: the rear brake ducts are of interest but the key features are yet to receive development.

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9 comments on “Red Bull RB14: Technical analysis”

  1. ‘Like the other cars we have seen so far Red Bull have adopted the low slung impact spar to form the lower leading edge of the sidepod inlet and with it an aggressive undercut.’

    I am curious about this, as the other cars so far (and the analyses I have read of them) seemingly don’t have the lower leading edge as the impact spar (or side crash structure). Only the Haas, I think. But I may be wrong (it’s often hard to discern).

    1. Haas, Williams and Sauber all have the lower spar positioning. Sauber have used it in a slightly different way though

  2. So the big difference I’m seeing in this years cars is that they are following Farrari’s lead of last year and separating the crash structures from the side pods allowing the side pods to be smaller and further back. It appears the Williams, Sauber, Haas and now Red Bull have all done it. Renault don’t appear to have. It will be interesting to see if Farrari have developed it further or decided it didn’t work.

  3. They are so far ahead of schedule that they could fit in an extra crash test ;-)

  4. I’m really interested in all this stuff but I don’t understand enough of the terminology, e.g. wishbones, A-arm, impact spar. It would be great if you could put up a picture that labels all the typical parts of an F1 car.

    1. Duly noted!

  5. Wishbones: what aero guys or gals break hoping thier design is as good during testing as in the tunnel.
    A-arm: what the mechanics use to install those really expensive parts that have no spares during test.
    Impact spar: the ring in the pits where the mechanical engineers, aero engineers and financial weenies argue for the required updates to go faster.

  6. Seriously, the wishbones are the front suspension horizontal parts that connect the wheels (uprights) to the chassis, ususally upper and lower; , a arms are the type of wishbone but have 2 points that attach to the chassis so they look like an A, impact spar is the beam behind the driver that goes thru the sidepods and chassis for side impact strength. Some wishbones are only a single point attached to the chassis, with a drag strut going forward or back to make up the triangle, as can be seen on the red bulls rear suspension.

  7. Ok maybe i was wrong about the red bull rear, what i thought was a drag strut i think is the pull rod suspension, so…… never mind.

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