(Motorsport-Total.com) – One of the most important performance factors for the current generation of Formula 1 cars with a ground effect is the aerodynamics of the undercarriage – an area that is often overlooked. And just as we’ve seen a number of different sidepod solutions from teams this year, it seems – from the looks we’ve been able to capture – there are also different approaches to the undercarriage.
© Giorgio Piola
At Red Bull, there is something new to see in the diffuser
Each team has its own interpretation of how best to extract performance within the framework of the new rules, although each team studies the design of its competitors to find the optimal solution.
And with guinea pigs still a headache and underbody aerodynamics an important part of it, there have been a few questions since Imola about a concept Red Bull uses for the underside of its RB18.
The Red Bull chassis has a skid type, which is a metal strip with holes in it, which sits in the rear corner of the chassis and seems to provide some performance benefits.
The most obvious assumption is that the metal strut prevents the undercarriage from bending under load and thus prevents guinea pigs from starting prematurely.
© Giorgio Piola
Red Bull has a kind of runner under the floor zoom
This can be achieved in two ways: firstly by adding some stiffness directly to the area of the subfloor in question, but secondly also by letting it act as a kind of slip – by preventing the floor from deflecting further when it hits shine Har.
For this reason, the component is made of metal and not carbon, so it does not wear as much.
Less weight, better aerodynamics?
While many of Red Bull’s competitors have been forced to add metal hangers to the top of the floor to prevent the floor from hanging too much, this is not the case with Red Bull – suggesting the team has the problem under control.
That is not to say that it will not be different at some point, but it is clear that the team, as it stands, is not dependent on it meeting its performance requirements.
As we saw with Alpine’s new undercarriage at Imola, the inclusion of a bracket can result in a weight saving, as less undercarriage material is required to meet the same strength requirements.
The Red Bull runner also has some advantages in terms of aerodynamics. Not only is the surface closely aligned with the trailing edge, but it also makes an abrupt curve toward the trailing edge, leading to the spread of a vortex. And also the holes could have an aerodynamic significance.
Boat instead of aerospace and aviation
Looking at this picture, it is also worth noting some other features of the RB18’s undercarriage, such as the metal insert in the floor recess that limits the deflection of the undercarriage, and the design of the center body is also interesting.
The front part not only curves steeply outwards, but it also has an interesting Z-shaped tringeometry, as the cross section of the boat’s stern is reduced in the rear area and meets the diffuser.
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Interestingly, this is reminiscent of the type of design associated with hull design in the boating industry rather than the usual association between Formula 1 and aerospace.
Red Bull has embraced this design feature but has not yet shown any interest in moving the diffuser kickline further forward as the rules allow, while some of its competitors have made several advances in this regard to increase the diffuser volume to increase in vertical direction.
Instead, Red Bull has opted for a more gradual vertical transition that might help them when we think about the impact of guinea pigs.
New approach at Ferrari
Ferrari took a different approach and chose a much smoother kind of hull and stiffer. The edge wing, pictured below, was introduced earlier in the season when the team tested a new undercarriage with a new layout in Australia.
But since they only had one available, Ferrari decided not to use it there or in the subsequent race at Imola.
© Giorgio Piola
This is what the Ferrari chassis looks like zoom
The chassis has a revised edge that eliminates the McLaren-style wing that was dedicated earlier in the season. But, perhaps more importantly, it also has a strut mounted under the chassis, similar to the Red Bull.
It seems that the team has also followed up on the free training sessions in Australia, where you could only run a few laps. Because Ferrari recently tried two undercarriage variants during the Pirelli tire test. According to the regulations, it is now possible because the test can be completed with current cars.