Red Bull’s floor is ‘so curved you can’t figure it out’ says rival after photos emerge

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez’s crash in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix provided Red Bull’s rivals with a vital opportunity to study the design of the RB19’s floor.

His car was lifted from the crash scene at Sainte Devote by a crane, allowing nearby photographers to snap the RB19’s usually concealed underside. Red Bull have been the class of the field since the current technical regulations were introduced at the beginning of last season, and their floor design is believed to hold the secrets to their speed.

However one designer said the sheer sophistication of Red Bull’s floor layout will make it hard to copy even now they’ve seen it.

“It’s so complex that on a 2D photo, because of the way the light is, it’s so curved, you can’t figure any of it out,” said Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson.

“I guess it’s just coincidental they do it all like that because that’s how they get the downforce. But it doesn’t half make it difficult to copy!”

The underside of Mercedes’ car was also seen after Lewis Hamilton crashed in final practice. But their trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said their dominant rivals will be more irked by having their secrets shown to the world.

“I suspect they’re probably more annoyed about their car being left in the sky than we would be about ours,” said Shovlin.

“To be honest with these regulations the most important bit is the bit that you don’t normally get to see. So the teams will be all over those kind of photographs. Monaco is a good opportunity to get that kind of shot.”

The tight restrictions on weight distribution in F1 today means the sight of cars being lifted into the air by cranes doesn’t reveal the same information it once did, said Shovlin.

“Years ago, when your weight distribution could be anywhere between 48% and 43 you paid a bit more attention to where people are. If they lifted a car, you could sort of try and work out where the centre of gravity was. These days you’ve got a pretty narrow window to work in by the regulations anyway.”

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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    Author information

    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...
    Claire Cottingham
    Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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    13 comments on “Red Bull’s floor is ‘so curved you can’t figure it out’ says rival after photos emerge”

    1. Coventry Climax
      28th May 2023, 11:13

      Ha, and just after my comment about Centre of Gravity under the Merc’s Cirque du Soleil post.

      1. Good point about centre of Gravity. Judging by Hamiliton’s lift earlier in the week, the Mercedes using a rear weight bias to help keep the rear downforce. Or it could just be about where the crain mounts are located.

        All the same it also means Mercedes are forced to place the driver weight further forward. The extra weight had a lot to do with their water-cooling solution, which in turn gave rise to the slimer pods. The question is what will they do about their hefty water cooler, now that they are forced to resort to fatter pods, with less aero advantages? How does Mercedes justify the extra weight of their hi-tech water coolers?

    2. Coventry Climax
      28th May 2023, 11:36

      Aston Martin claims to have copied an entire car just from pictures. If true, that picture set was ofcourse likely to have been a bit bigger than this one.
      But still, there’s probably software around to do the trick?

      1. But still, there’s probably software around to do the trick?

        I think there’s also a regulation still around that forbids the use of that class of software.
        In this instance, from a fairly low grade image on a web site it seems that there’s a fair bit of vertical curve in the air path if you look at the mid-length area

    3. Didn’t seem so curved in the world feed footage.

      1. There’s going to be a lot more and a lot better photos then what was shown on the world feed.

    4. Coventry Climax
      28th May 2023, 11:46

      We just heard about Williams still doing everything the way it was done in the middle ages, so maybe not the best engineer to ask if there’s any information to be gathered from those pictures?

      I think it’s safe to say those pictures will be the subject of study with all teams, and for a long time to come.

    5. Maybe Adrian Newey’s designed a false floor, on Perez’s car only because Max won’t crash it, just for Monaco where they have the cranes.

      We need these cranes in pre-season testing, so we can have all this nonsense before anyone gets a 120-point lead.

      1. Red Bull wouldn’t use their racing floor at the pre-season testing if they suspected their competitors would be able to see it.

    6. It looks like the Ferrari side pod scallop, but underneath instead

    7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th May 2023, 19:10

      It’s clear they’re getting more downforce from the bottom.

    8. Non-Euclidean aero bits.

    9. It is a trivial task to reproduce the precise profile of a curved surface from several 2D images. Your phone can do it.
      The teams have access to far greater computational resources and, of course, the source images, although they might cost a bit to get hold of.

    Comments are closed.