'Downforce without drag' cited as key Red Bull strength

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Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache has given his view of the main reasons why this year's RB19 is proving to be such a dominant car compared to those of Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari.

So far the RB19 had proved unstoppable, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez between them managing to win all eight of the Grand Prix races to date, and by a huge margin over their struggling rivals.

The pivotal moment came with the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations at the start of 2022 which allowed Adrian Newey to steal a march on his rivals with the design of the team's latest car, ending years of Mercedes superiority.

Wache acknowledged that the current car design was benefitting from greater aerodynamic efficiency compared to the others on the grid

“On different tracks we are able to produce downforce without massive drag, that I think is the main strength," he suggested this week. “The efficiency, I would say."

One area of particular interest to Red Bull's rivals is the design of the underfloor of the car, which was revealed for all to see when Perez' car was hoisted high in the air after an accident at Monaco.

The gasps of appreciation from engineers up and down the paddock at the intricate styling of Newey's creation spoke volumes. But Wache wasn't worried about the insight it might have given the other teams.

“They see some detail on the floor but I am sure you can ask them what they see and if they were to learn something," he commented. "I think they already had some pictures from the garage, and saw some detail of it before.

"It’s how it is, and it happened to our competitor also," he said, referring to a similar indecent exposure of the underside of the Mercedes car which had angered Toto Wolff at the time. "The car was in the air.

“It was not the fact that we see the floor," Wache said when asked if the squad had been annoyed by its secrets being on display. "The frustration was more that the car was in the wall."

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. 02.06.2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Practice Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Perhaps the most significant revelation from the two incidents was how primitive the underside of the Mercedes looked compared to that of the Red Bull, where the contours are practically a piece of modern art in their own right.

It reinforced the sense of just how far ahead Newey and his technical team are over the rest of the Formula 1 field, and how difficult it will be for the other teams to do anything significant about it in the next two to three years.

“Honestly, I think when you make the car you try to make it as quick as possible,” Wache said. “As quick a car as possible.

"After that, the success is also depending not only on you but also on the others," he added, before admitting: "Yes, the difference is bigger than what we expected.”

While their rivals have been scrambling to introduce major new upgrades packages in an attempt to close that gap, with Aston Martin the latest to bring new parts to Montreal, Red Bull's own improvements have been more modest .

Mercedes are promising another batch of major upgrades to their car over the next two races, and Wache said he was aware that their rivals were inching closer and closer to Red Bull with every passing weekend.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19. 17.06.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Qualifying Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

“You see that in quali for sure they are every time closer in terms of pure performance,” he conceded, with the team's home race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria next up.

"In terms of management of pace during the race, we have some advantage," he said. "But I’m sure they can unlock [more pace] - you see some updates coming from our competitors here, and for sure it will be closer.”

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