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Development too late for RB10: Red Bull scored an own goal

Development for RB10 too late
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D he Mercedes winning streak was born just as early as the deficit from Red Bull to the Silver Arrows. Former team boss Ross Brawn built the foundation using the same strategy that worked at BrawnGP. The early bird catches the worm. At Mercedes, the clocks have been ticking for the new hybrid age since 2011. Both at the chassis faction in Brackley and in the engine plant in Brixworth.

Red Bull, on the other hand, had started construction of the RB10 surprisingly late, as if one wanted to resist a regulation that would devalue Adrian Newey's greatest trump card . The aerodynamics were castrated again after 2009. The importance of the engine and the car for the lap times was again in balance. But with the lead that Mercedes had with its drive unit, not even the best aerodynamics helped.

Red Bull with emergency solution in the winter test phase

The opponents had to expect Mercedes on the engine side would be the benchmark. It is all the more surprising that Red Bull took so long to develop the new car. Instead, the old RB9 was expanded one step at a time, even after it had long been clear that Red Bull would become world champions. Everything on the new RB10 was knitted with a hot needle. Red Bull only underwent crash tests ten days before the start of the test. The RB10 was first assembled the night before the first day of testing.

Chief Designer Rob Marshall admits, 'We were a month behind schedule. If we had a month more, our testing program would have been much smoother We were faced with very few test kilometers before the start of the season. And with problems that could not be fixed overnight. At the beginning, we could not do more than five laps without our car catching fire. The corresponding new parts were only finished in the week before the Australian GP. In the meantime we had to come up with emergency solutions. '

Hope, the 2014s Being able to tip the rules

Red Bull had also misjudged Mercedes' development program, as Marshall admits. 'Our approach has always been: Work on the old car for as long as possible so that you can save as many developments as possible into the next season. At the end of 2013, we brought two major expansion stages tointimidating our opponents and forcing them to surrender in the World Cup fight. What we didn't consider: Our opponents had already given up and were fully focused on the 2014 cars. '

The case also has a political dimension. Insiders now believe that Red Bull had long assumed it was with the help of Bernie Ecclestone could still overturn the new rules. But the shot backfired. Because engine partner Renault stuck to the new drive units at all costs. And because Mercedes could not be driven out, even when the rights holders made them an indecent offer for the new Concorde agreement . Mercedes was initially not one of the privileged teams.

Red Bull's aerodynamic rules also punished

The new one Regulations punished Red Bull twice. With the Renault engine, the Mercedes lacked between 40 and 60 hp. The new aerodynamic rules also robbed Red Bull of three trump cards from the chassis Diffuser and the placement of the batteries in the gearbox. In 2014, the energy storage device had to be installed under the tank.

The front wing, which is 15 centimeters narrower, asked all aerodynamicists: How do I channel the air past the front wheels? Red Bull stayed true to the old philosophy 'because we haven't found anything better yet'. The prescribed position of the batteries, which Marshall describes as 'foolish', made it almost impossible for Red Bull to naturally achieve the desired weight distribution of 45.5 to 46.5 percent on the front axle. In the past you could place the ballast wherever you wanted. For example in the front wing, which then bent in a controlled manner. With the RB10, the extra weight only had to go to the rear.

Red Bull had to reduce downforce

According to Marshall, blowing the diffuser with the exhaust gases was the most powerful weapon of the predecessor car: 'We were probably the one best and have therefore lost a lot. ' In the current car, the diffuser was sealed by air vortices generated by the rear brake vents. With the result that Red Bull was still able to advance its car strongly.

But the old trick of using lap time with maximum downforce and neglecting top speed no longer worked. 'It only pays off if you are in the front at the start and can drive your pace unhindered at the top,' explains Sebastian Vettel. But Red Bull was no longer in front on the starting grid. With that, the house of cards collapsed. The drivers were stuck in traffic. And then they lacked the top speed to move forward. In the turbulence in the middle of the field, the extreme aerodynamics also failed to work.

At the Austrian GP, ‚Äč‚ÄčAdrian Newey began to trim the car for less downforce by adjusting the wings. Aroundto be less vulnerable on the straights. The shot backfired. Because Red Bull gave up its qualities in the corners. The bottom line was that the cars slowed down. They weren't built for that concept. So it came about that Williams overtook Red Bull. There the engineers went the opposite way. Good top speed, but a lack of downforce. Bit by bit, the aerodynamicists put pressure on it. And in the end we had the fastest car in the field.


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