F1 2022 Technical Imola Red Bull takes the bull by the horns

In Emilia-Romagna, Red Bull scored 58 points, against 20 for Ferrari, which nevertheless dominated in Australia. How to understand this reversal?

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Dominated by Ferrari and plagued by reliability issues in the opening races, Red Bull reacted to its opponent’s ground and regained control.

Admittedly, the prancing horse shot itself in the foot due to a build-up of errors (a tactical mistake by Charles Leclerc in Friday’s qualifying, poor sprint settings causing granulation, slow start on the wet side of the grid and then a mistake handling in the race), but the RB18 was noticeably faster at Imola. For what reasons?

Unlike the Scuderia, which preferred not to bring any new features during a weekend contested in the sprint format (next page), the British team has introduced some technical novelties.

At the front, a fin has been added around the keel (compare the yellow arrows in the image above), which is itself thinner (blue arrows), to provide extra downforce. The design is inspired by the one seen on the Ferrari F1-75 just like theAston Martin AMR22 (and that Alpine also resumed this weekend). At the rear, the brake scoop has been revised to improve cooling.

“The aerodynamic package works as expectedsaid Helmut Marko. But we have yet to figure out the ‘weight factor’, because the Ferrari is even lighter than our car. We are still above the FIA ​​minimum weight. We will reach this figure in several stages. That is normal: with Weight Watchers you do not suddenly lose your excess weight.”

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Milton Keynes also reduced his weight handicap compared to Maranello by fitting lighter parts. Of the excess 10kg (which is roughly three-tenths of a second in theory), she would have recovered four at Imola, with the rest being won by Barcelona.

Fine, but have these upgrades really made the Red Bull faster than the Ferrari?

“We will [Charles Leclerc] escaped yesterday, nuanced Max Verstappen on arrival. We made changes, but I don’t know what they brought us… Anyway, everything was under control, better than in Australia, and sometimes that’s more important than new parts. And then it is always more uncertain on a wet track…”

The difference is more in the functioning of the tires. In this regard, Red Bull has learned the lesson from Melbourne. Better tuned, the RB18 didn’t cause graining on the front tires on Saturday, unlike the Ferrari.

“As we saw in Melbourne, F1 tires have a working window [la notion est expliquée ici] in which we managed to place them this weekend by choosing the right settings”, explained Christian Horner.

“Charles suffered a bit more from his front tires than we did in both the sprint race and the Grand Prix, which affected him in the second part of the race.

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Unlike previous Grands Prix, F1-75 made less use of its tires as the Italian engineers were unable to find the correct settings in the short time allowed to run (a single session for the parc fermé on Friday), while their Red Bull opponents succeeded:

“We had very little time to develop the car, Mattia Binotto analyzed Sunday evening. With only one session on Friday, on a wet track, we collected very little data, not even on the long stints.

“It’s true that we rode in free 2 on Saturday, but I feel like we ran out of data before entering the sprint race. In that respect, Red Bull has worked better than us. You have to understand why.”