A Red Bull F1 ‘skate’ that could be his real cure

And just as we have seen various different solutions for side substrates this year, it seems – from the point of view we have managed to get – there are also different approaches to parquet.

Each team has its own interpretation of how best to draw performance within the boundaries of the new regulations, although each of them studies the design of its rivals to try to find the optimal solution.

And given that porpoise is still such a headache, and the role that floor aerodynamics play in it is critical, Imola has come up with some intrigue about the concept Red Bull uses on the underside of its RB18.

The Red Bull floor has a skate strip – a metal strip with holes – located in the rear outer corner of the floor and seems to offer a number of performance advantages.

Red Bull Racing RB18 floor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The most obvious suggestion is that the metal strip inhibits the bending of the floor under load, so that it stops the premature movement of the porpoise.

This could be achieved in two ways: first by adding a certain stiffness directly to that region of the floor, but second by acting as a kind of slip, stopping the floor from bending more after touching the track itself. That will be the reason why the component is metal, not carbon, so it doesn’t consume as much.

Nothing is true that, while many Red Bull rivals have been forced to add metal brackets to the top floor surface to prevent the floor from bending too much, Red Bull is not – suggesting it has things under control.

That’s not to say he won’t in the end, but it’s clear that the team’s current schedule doesn’t require one to meet his performance needs.

As we have seen from Alpinewho introduced a new floor in Imola, the inclusion of residue can be useful in terms of weight savings, as less material will be needed in the floor to achieve the same strength goals.

Let’s go back to the Red Bull ‘ice skate’ – there are some aerodynamic advantages that can be achieved with its inclusion.

The surface is not only closely aligned with the fall of the floor edge, but also rotates sharply towards the rear edge, which will result in the vortex spreading.

However, it is also worth noting that the flap has several holes placed along its length which can be considered significant from an aerodynamic point of view.

When studying this painting, thanks to Red Bull mechanics who dumped it in the garage, several other features of the RB18 floor are also worth considering, such as the metal insert used to cut the floor edges, which limits its bending while shaping the central hull also interesting.

Not only is there a steep outer curvature at the front, there is also an interesting stepped Z-shaped geometry as the tail of the ship decreases in cross section at the rear and meets the diffuser.

Interestingly, this is reminiscent of the type of design you could associate with hull design in the ship industry, rather than the usual F1 association with aerospace.

By opting for this design feature, Red Bull has not yet expressed interest in pushing the diffuser line forward, as regulations allow, with some of its rivals using multiple improvements in this regard to increase diffuser volume from a vertical perspective.

Instead, Red Bull opted for a more gradual vertical transition, which could help him when we consider the consequences of porpoise.

Ferrari F1-75 bottom view
Comparison of the floor of the Ferrari F1-75 and McLaren MCL36

Ferrari took a different approach, opting for a much gentler shape of the torso and hips. The ‘fringe wing’ seen in this picture was introduced at the start of the season, with a team trying out a new floor in Australia with a new schedule.

But as he had only one available, he decided not to compete there or in the race that followed in Imola.

The floor has a revised edge, rejecting McLaren the edge-wing style he appropriated earlier in the season. But perhaps more importantly, it also has a strip placed under the floor in a similar way to Red Bull.

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The team also seems to have continued the limited running it did during free practice in Australia, as in a recent Pirelli tire test it conducted consecutive tests with two floor configurations, which are now within regulations as current cars can be used for such rides.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, floor detail
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, floor detail

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