Red Bull RB20, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Red Bull and Ferrari target different gains with Spanish Grand Prix upgrades

Formula 1

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Red Bull and Ferrari have brought aerodynamic upgrades focused on different areas of their performance for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Rivals Mercedes and McLaren, however, will keep their cars in the same specification as recent races following their recent successful upgrades.

Red Bull have brought refinements to their RB20’s novel cooling arrangement as the championship moves on from a trio of often cool venues – Imola, Monaco and Montreal – and into the heat of the European summer. Those temperatures haven’t been quite as warm as expected yet, but that wouldn’t have been known at the time Red Bull committed to producing these updates.

The RB20 takes in cool air through a combination of openings. In addition to the conventional airbox it has a novel pair of intakes behind the cockpit. The sidepods air intakes – one horizontal and one vertical on each side – are also aggressively slim.

The team has altered these sidepod intakes for this race in order to maximise the airflow into them and allow the use of smaller exits which will reduce drag.

“With potentially warm races ahead in Europe, the sidepod inlet geometries have been revised based upon [simulation] results to exploit higher pressure inlet air for greatest cooling efficiency and therefore least number of exit louvre openings,” the team explained.

This change in the middle of the car has led to further revisions elsewhere. They include the engine cover and parts of the floor where the two meet.

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Red Bull have made a further change at the rear of the car to make better use of the airflow at this part of the car. The beam wing has been revised along with the rear wing endplate where they join. “The beam wing span has been increased to meet a new endplate offering more local load,” the team explained.

While Red Bull’s changes are largely focused on cooling, Ferrari are targeting aerodynamic gains. It comes after the team slipped badly in Canada, failing to get either car into Q3 in the first race after their Monaco Grand Prix victory.

These updates will have been in work long before those races. But they arrive in time for a trio of races on consecutive weekends at medium-to-high speed circuits which rewards aerodynamic performance and efficiency.

Ferrari identified its diffuser as an area where more load could be generated. In order to do this it has made changes not only to the geometry of the diffuser, but also a series of changes to parts of its floor.

The team has altering the camber of its floor intake fences, lowering the roof of the floor at the front and tweaked the edge at the rear. The sidepod is also more steeply cut underneath. This is all intended to improve the quality of air flow to the revised diffuser and increase the load it generates.

A further increase in downforce at the back of the SF-24 should come from changes to its rear wing, both the upper plane and lower beam. This will “offer more possibilities on mid [to] high downforce tracks,” Ferrari say.

Ferrari has made one further detail change to the Halo bodywork it last revised at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Several teams have focused on cleaning up the airflow in this area around the mandatory safety structure, and Ferrari believes it has found a further gain here.

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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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1 comments on “Red Bull and Ferrari target different gains with Spanish Grand Prix upgrades”

  1. A few pics where appropriatte would have enhanced this article.

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