The Mercedes AMG F1 team wants to put new Red Bull Racing RB18 under the microscope – Red Bull surprised at the Formula 1 tests in Barcelona with an aggressive design of the sidepods. The large gap between the underbody and the cooling intakes also attracts the attention of the competition.
In any case, designers at Mercedes will be taking a close look at the unusual concept, as technical director Mike Elliott confirmed on the official YouTube channel of Formula 1. His team will “think about” how the Red Bull sidepods work, Elliott said, as they apparently have more space for airflow than was thought possible.
So Red Bull mastermind Adrian Newey may have pulled off another coup. The implementation of the new regulations seems to show once again that the racing team of the energy drink manufacturer is taking a different approach to the rest of the Formula 1 teams.
“Porpoising” the big issue in Formula 1
“The biggest difference is the sidepods that Red Bull have developed,” Elliott said.
“That looks interesting, so we’ll have a look at that.”
In pre-season, Mercedes and Red Bull also faced each other as main rivals in the constructors’ championship race – bringing the better finish for runner-up Lewis Hamilton’s team.
After the test days, the dominant topic in the paddock, besides Red Bull’s sidepods, was “porpoising”. This aerodynamic ground effect caused the cars to bounce on long straights, with the downforce generated pulling the cars back onto the tarmac as they went over bumps.
“It’s a problem we all face,” Elliott explained, adding, “The reality is we just need to learn as quickly as possible. We’re testing as much as we can here [in Barcelona] and we’ll be doing a lot of simulations at the factory. It’s going to be about how we either solve the problem or how we can deal with it and mitigate it in the first races.”
McLaren already think they have found an answer in that regard. Meanwhile, Elliott believes the problem is “all over the field”, with everyone looking for their own solution to fix the porpoising.