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Red Bull shoots against Mercedes: Silver Arrow brake scoops illegal?

Stefan Baldauf
Red Bull shoots Mercedes
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N Even before the start of the season, the teams are cheering each other Lot of broadsides. Ferrari is under pressure because of the engine affair. But the competition from Scuderia also disagrees. This is how Red Bull is currently taking action against archenemy Mercedes. A point of contention is still the active track adjustment 'DAS', which is controlled via the steering wheel. 'Our lawyers are checking whether the' DAS 'system is legal,' announced Red Bull sports director Helmut Marko.

But Red Bull has opened a second front against Mercedes. In the opinion of the team's engineers, the rear brake ventilation of some teams is not compliant. Including Mercedes, possibly also Racing Point.

The point is that these constructions 'trick' an additional air shaft above the permitted zone. This air is then used to cool the brakes or rims. That could be a decisive advantage in tire management.

The FIA ​​has issued a clarification upon request. The technical directive TD 014/20 prohibits all air ducts in the forbidden zone from the start of the season in Melbourne. Said teams are now forced to a quick conversion.

Stefan Baldauf
At Mercedes you have to convert the air scoops until the start of the season in Melbourne.

Teams have to react by Melbourne

What exactly are we talking about here: The rear brake ventilation is artfully woven between the wishbones of the rear suspension and the wheel carrier. The regulations only allow air shafts in an area between the road up to 160 millimeters above the center of the wheel.

In Article 11.5. of the Technical Regulations clearly stipulate thatall parts of the wheel carrier above this area may only fulfill one structural task. Air shafts are not allowed in this zone.

Certain teams, as the FIA ​​puts it, have built a bracket on the upper edge of the wheel carrier that has the shape of an inverted 'V'. FIA Technical Director Nikolas Tombazis admits that the definition of the rule in question is not perfect, but urges the teams not to contradict the spirit of the regulations.

On the Mercedes W11 you can see two air ducts above the center of the wheel allowed area. Above this, the pivot point of the upper wishbone makes an upward bulge. It is divided into two webs in the shape of an upside-down 'V'. The outer one is connected to the wheel carrier, the inner one to the brake ventilation duct.

In between, a solid carbon arm connects the wheel carrier and brake scoop. An additional shaft is formed between this triangle made of struts, but it is above the 160 millimeter limit.

Stefan Baldauf
At Red Bull, the air scoops on the wheel carrier protrude exactly up to the permitted height 160 millimeters above the center of the wheel.

Teams have to modify wheel carriers

The FIA ​​admits that all three elements obviously have a load-bearing function, but it recognizes a primary aerodynamic benefit in the arrangement . Because an additional duct was cleverly created at this point, which blows air towards the rims above the permitted zone. This trick was declared illegal in the clarification.

The FIA ​​offers two solutions to the teams who now have to convert their rear wheel carrier in a hurry: Either an outlet is created at the rear end of the frame, which is as big as the forbidden entry. So the air is simply passed through to the rear. On the Mercedes in Barcelona you could already see that there was a hole in the rear of the wishbone. However, the outlet is significantly smaller than the inlet.

As an alternative, the shaft can simply be closed completely. This solution, too, can ensure that no air is diverted to cool the brakes or the rim.Those who prefer the second, 'simpler' variant can only do this as a temporary measure in the first two races. After that, the FIA ​​expects a new, rule-compliant design of the wheel carriers and brake ventilation.

In the gallery we explain the problem again clearly with detailed photos from the test drives.


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