Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Red Bull not expecting grid full of RB18 clones in 2023

2023 F1 season

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Red Bull doubt their rivals will all produce copies of their successful RB18 design for the 2023 F1 season, despite the constraints of the current regulations.

The team produced the benchmark car for this season. Max Verstappen has claimed a record-breaking 14 grand prix wins and team mate Sergio Perez has added two more for the team as they scored a dominant championship victory.

However Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan believes rival teams will still be able to pursue different design philosophies, as Mercedes and Ferrari have done this year.

The design rules are “a little constrained in that the cars are quite similar and our freedoms are curtailed compared with previous years”, he admitted. But “simply put, no, I don’t think the cars will have an identical appearance,” he added.

“I don’t think we’re at that point yet. The regulations govern the shape more closely than they used to. But there are some differences, particularly if you look at the Mercedes, the Ferrari and the Red Bull car. There are some significant differences.”

Following the major change to the technical rules which was made for this year, minor tweaks to some areas of the car such as the floor dimensions will follow in 2023.

“There are regulation changes coming along for next year,” said Monaghan. “Are we all going to have the same solution at race one? I doubt it, that doesn’t seem to be the way of our sport.

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“So I think there will be differences in there. They will be smaller in magnitude to those we’ve seen in say, 2010, ’11, ’12 and so on and so forth. That’s the evolution of the sport. So be it.”

Williams’ technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison, whose team has already taken on some of Red Bull’s design cues during 2022, had a different view.

“Well, when you see the speed of the blue car, I’m quite sure [teams will converge],” he said. “Already I think so many cars try to go that direction.

“So I’ll be surprised if there are not more and more cars heading in the same direction. You can’t avoid it, it’s motorsport, you always copy the fastest car and that’s F1.”

Aston Martin’s performance director Tom McCullough, whose revised car was dubbed a ‘green Red Bull’ by some when it appeared at the Spanish Grand Prix, said the current rules discourage teams from experimenting with multiple development paths during the season, but more may appear in pre-season testing.

“I think the cost cap will mean that people have been working away on ideas that they’ve not been able to bring to the track that people haven’t seen,” he said. “And therefore, [we’ll see] maybe a few differences at the start of next year.”

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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8 comments on “Red Bull not expecting grid full of RB18 clones in 2023”

  1. The current budget cap I’m sure has made several teams realize that it may not be worth taking a unique design route, because if it fails, you will not have the budget to re-design the car (i.e. copy the successful team) in order to be competetive in the second part of the season.
    So what you do in 2023 is build a conservative Red-Bull like platform and explore it to the fullest during the season having placed a safe bet that your starting point is good.

    1. It’s a tough call though. Coming up with some unique is an absolutely huge risk but it’s also the only way to have the fastest car. If you copy the 2022 Red Bull, you’ll have to find a way to beat the 2023 Red Bull…. All the teams would have to learn how to optimise the design and how to set it up well whilst Red Bull would be able to start straight away with updates and improvements. I could see McLaren trying something interesting to see if they can move into that top group that fight for wins and I think Mercedes and Ferrari will continue developing their own ideas – the rest will likely start to look more like the Red Bull as they have a lot less to lose.

      You can also clearly see that Mercedes are still bringing updates late into the season whilst some other teams have completely stopped and are presumably working primarily on the 2023 car. There’s no point in bringing updates to the final few races unless they’re going to teach you something useful for the 2023 car. That makes me think Mercedes will be developing what they have rather than completely redesigning the whole thing.

      1. I think Mercedes is an exception in that the direction of their concept is the right one, the understanding of it wasn’t
        I’ll compare with Ferrari for example
        Ferrari’s potential is 10, they start at 8 or 9 and is one of the reasons we suck at development, we try to design a perfect comfortable car from the get go
        Merceds potential is 13. they started at 7 which means they have a potentially very fast car that takes work to unlock
        I hope I’ve explained in an understandable way
        Red Bull designed a 14. begun at 9

  2. Maybe not the entire grid, but 9 out of 10 would be a pretty safe bet.

  3. Mercedes was the team that clearly benefitted from the technical directives, their car has clearly the most downforce but it is still down on the straights, I can’t see teams having had the time to copy merc in time for 23, the tds might have come a bit late for that.

  4. If a team copies the Red Bull, they won’t get out of it what Verstappen can. If you’re going to copy, best copy the Mercs.

  5. I think it’s healthy to take a step back and look at what we want from this formula – broadly speaking ‘ 60% car / chassis that rewards the team, but the drivers make the difference.

    I think these new regulations have delivered in most respects. The Mercedes looks nothing like the Red Bull, nor the Ferrari. Yet if Red Bull had two ‘decent to good’ drivers they’d be nothing more than maybe a bit ahead of both.

    Max, Lewis, George and Charles’ performances …… mean that if I was in charge of another team and everyone came at me with pens and paper and CAD data and said “which philosophy should we follow?”.

    I wouldn’t know. Mercedes might have the most potential, or Red Bull or perhaps Ferrari. Mercedes’ is the most radical on the surface.

    Who knows what it will look like when they all merge. But I’m happy with what I’ve seen this year. Even if it’s just that I can recognise a car from its silhouette again, and it’s nothing but a tenth or so different from a completely different concept.

  6. I think most fans wouldn’t care at all. Even a fan since the early 90s like myself at this stage in history would happily accept a basically spec bodywork series if it meant multiple teams and drivers could challenge for wins and titles.

    DRS, sprint races and others gimmicks can definitely go, but anything to equalise the cars and cut pointless spending is a positive. Teams spending millions to tweak wings by a few millimetres, especially when it has no road relevance, is the biggest waste of time and money.

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