Adrian Newey Explains Biggest Aero Differences on Rival Cars

Red Bull’s Chief Designer Adrian Newey has expressed his views on the new set of regulations recently, and has found points of interest in the designs of Red Bull’s biggest rivals going into the 2017 season – Mercedes and Ferrari.

Newey also explained that the new aero regulations aren’t as drastic as those introduced in 2009. He said,

“It is fair to say that the rule changes are much smaller than we had in 2009 aerodynamically, the flow structures around the car are similar to previous generations but obviously different in exactly what happens. Particularly the 250 vortexes off the front wing which is the junction between the FIA section and the elements. How that interacts with the car is quite a challenge. Meeting the weight target despite it being 728kg is a challenge. It’s getting towards sportscar weight.

I think it makes a more interesting approach having more freedom, this is the first time in quite a few years we have a bit more freedom in the bodywork restriction regulations. The most obvious thing is a wider car with wider bodywork, I think interestingly the removal of the exclusion boxes around the barge board area is an area which gives a lot of opportunity.”

– Adrian Newey

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MARCH 10:  Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during the final day of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 10, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
MONTMELO, SPAIN – MARCH 10: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during the final day of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 10, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

The freedom has given us a grid in which each car looks drastically different, and there are some features that stand out more than others.

“The Mercedes looks like a complicated car, it’s got a lot of parts on it which will be about trying to manipulate the vortices to position the flow structures around the car.

The Ferrari has a complicated looking sidepod which I have not quite managed to work out yet from the pictures I have seen.

Mercedes and Toro Rosso have gone for a higher top wishbone which kind of looks like a Lotus 49, with its inboard high king pin, which I would imagine is aimed at trying to get the bottom wishbone higher and trying to get the top wishbone higher and to clean up the brake duct area. Those are the biggest differences I’ve seen so far.”

– Adrian Newey

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MARCH 10:  Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 in the Pitlane  during the final day of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 10, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MONTMELO, SPAIN – MARCH 10: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 in the Pitlane during the final day of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 10, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

In testing, Ferrari and Mercedes have starred, but in the sessions that really matter that get underway next weekend, the Red Bull RB13 is quite likely to roll out of the garage with some aero gizmos that weren’t on the chassis in Barcelona. The team have been quietly and collectively going about their business. There’s been some evidence in testing that the Renault Power Unit has had a few hiccups, but the French Manufacturer are confident that these minor issues can be resolved before the Australian Grand Prix. It will be interesting to see how the RB13 stacks up against the W08 and SF70-H, a six-driver fight for the World Championship is exactly what the race organisers, FOM and fans would really like to see.