K opieren is a good craft in Formula 1. If you do not take on meaningful solutions from your opponents, you will not get very far in the premier class. The engineers are constantly checking the competition's racing cars, always on the lookout for innovative ideas that might also help their own car.
Teams usually cannot benefit from an exclusive solution for more than a few races. Thanks to modern computer simulations (CFD), no parts even have to be produced for initial tests in the factory. The carbon bakers only take action when the computer promises a measurable benefit.
Red Bull copy in seven days
Sometimes it is even faster. When Ferrari rolled its new underbody with 9 small fins out of the garage for technical inspection on Thursday (October 18, 2018) in Austin, the Red Bull photographers were immediately on the spot. They sent the images of the upgrade directly to the headquarters in Milton Keynes.
The engineers apparently saw potential in the solution. Without wasting a lot of time, computer models of the little Finns that were fed into the CFD software were created. Thanks to the fast supercomputers, they quickly found a promising solution that they absolutely wanted to test in Mexico in order to collect real data from the track.
Lightning development thanks to rapid prototyping
But in order There was no time to make a completely new sub-floor. Instead, the engineers decided to simply produce the small fins in a 3D printer. Thanks to modern 'rapid prototype technology', the components were ready within a few hoursfinished. “We then sent them to Mexico and stuck them to our underbody in the garage,” confirmed team boss Christian Horner.
During the technical inspection on Thursday, the competition could hardly believe their eyes. Nobody believed that Red Bull could have copied the Ferrari solution so quickly. In the first training session, Max Verstappen went straight out with the modified underbody and collected valuable data.
'The parts are so durable that we could even race with the underbody,' explained team advisor Helmut Marko. But apparently the engineers decided not to take any unnecessary risks. After the first test rounds in training, Verstappen was back in the second session with the conventional model.