Sergio Perez the supposed King of the street circuits had a poor day in Monaco during Formula One qualifying. The Red bull driver was distracted by an slow moving Alpine and looked to brake too late into St. Devote (Turn 1) smashing into the barrier.
Given this was early in Qualifying 1 the time Perez had set was beaten by car after car eventually seeing him finish the session in last place.
Perez championship hopes dashed
This is a huge blow to Perez championship hopes given his expertise is perceived to be on a circuit like Monaco where he won the race after starting third last season.
Whilst the Mexican driver has started in P20 already this year and finished the race in fifth, Christian Horner said after the session the best his driver could hope for is just making the points due to the difficulty F1 cars have in overtaking at the race in the principality.
To add to Sergio’s woes Sky F1 commentator Martin Brundle believes the team will need to replace restricted parts such as the gearbox. This means a grid drop looms ever closer as the Red Bull driver eventually reaches and surpasses his limited allocation for the season.
New gearbox for Checo’s car
“That’ll need a new gearbox as well,” said Brundle.
“He’s carried too much speed in there though. Maybe he was slightly distracted by the Alpine on the inside that was minding its own business in the pitlane.
A distraught Checo admitted it was his mistake.
“Unbelievable day. I cannot believe what I’ve done. It just caught me by surprise, just getting that rear out of shape, especially really late into the corner.”
Red Bull’s “secret” on display
Whilst team boss Christian Horner may be irritated by the inevitable loss of points the team will suffer in their pursuit of the constructors’ championship there are far more reaching consequences to Perez crash than the obvious effects in Monaco.
Aston Martin’s performance director Tom McCullough believes all the other teams aerodynamicists up and down the pitlane will be “excited” by the pictures taken of the underside of Perez’s RB19 as the crane swung it away high in the sky.
Since the FIA made the biggest rule change in living memory for car design in 2022, Red Bull have had the design all the rest are desperate to understand.
Further, much of their “secrets” will be in the detail of the floor of the car where around 50% of the current downforce is obtained from the low air pressure Venturi channels.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 27, 2023
Rivals “all over” photographs
Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin feels Red Bull’s rivals “will be all over” the photographs that emerged following Perez crash.
One of Red Bull’s top secrets is how they generate so much speed when the DRS is open. A number of theories have suggested it is somehow interconnected with the beam wing and the air flow at the rear of the undercar.
There are already articles circulating attempting to analysis the Red Bull underfloor airflow techniques though it will be a number of days before the detailed analysis and comparisons are released.
Earlier in the day the same fate had fallen to Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton’s car was swung high in the sky as Hamilton had crashed into the barriers on at the top of the hill down to the hairpin.
Wolff annoyed with crane operator
An annoyed Toto Wolff mockingly suggested the crane operator had previously worked in the Cirque de Soleil. Of course Mercedes had their new floor here in Monaco and so their new philosophy was on display for all to see.
However, Andrew Shovlin reckons it will hurt Red Bull more than Mercedes to have their car revealed to all and they will “probably be more annoyed about their car being left in the sky than we would be about ours”.
One thing immediately obvious from the comparison between the suspended Mercedes and Red Bull car was the distribution of weight.
The Red Bull when elevated stayed on a relatively even keel whereas Hamilton’s Mercedes rear end was at times in a dramatic vertical position underneath the nose.
Mercedes car very tail heavy
Shovlin revealed, “Years ago, when your weight distribution could be anywhere between 43 percent and 48 – if they lifted a car – you could sort of try and work out where the central gravity was.
“These days, you’ve got a pretty narrow window to work in by the regulations anyway.
“But I’m sure that the photographs on the underside of the floor…to be honest with these regulations, the most important bit is the bit you don’t normally get to see.
Aston Martin relieved
Aston Martin’s McCullough breathed a sigh of relief when both their cars completed the day without suffering the fate of Red Bull or Mercedes.
“Thankfully, ours hasn’t been lifted up yet. Let’s try and keep it that way because the aerodynamicists never want to show you that (the floor).
“You learn a lot from just even how the plank is wearing, a lot from what’s touching.
Aston Martin have their own secrets in their car design and are currently sitting ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes in both championships.
Red Bull double bluff
However, Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson, believed this was not the disastrous big reveal Red Bull may have feared.
“It seems so complex on a 2D photo,” said Robson. “Because of the way the light is curved you can’t figure any of it out.
“I guess it’s just coincidental. They all do it like that because that’s how they get the downforce, but it doesn’t half make it difficult to copy.”
It would be no surprise give Red Bull’s canny approach to F1 racing had they brought a modified floor to Monaco which is less representative of their ‘secret’ than the one used at more normative race tracks, particularly given in the principality the chance of a car being hoisted high in the sky is bigger than elsewhere.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 27, 2023