Formula 1

Red Bull 2? Gary Anderson on RB's new VCARB 01 F1 car

by Gary Anderson
5 min read

Red Bull's second Formula 1 team has undergone yet another identity refresh and is onto its third name since the company took over Minardi. But beyond the latest new look and name there is a clear intention for it to step up and take even more control of its own destiny.

The team will be even closer to Red Bull for 2024, and is being encouraged to use more of the transferrable parts available within the regulations. RB also has two experienced drivers in Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, so results-wise will be chasing podiums and, if luck falls its way, maybe even snatching a win.

To achieve that, the drivers will need the equipment to show their real talent so let’s have a look at what has been revealed so far. As I always say, I can only comment on what we can see from what the teams provide at this point, so please take my analysis with a pinch of salt until we see exactly what turns up in Bahrain.

The renders are limited, but if the car is actually anything like what we can see, it’s starting off as a pretty decent package. What we can see is definitely a step forward.

Starting at the front, the airflow around the nose is exactly the opposite to what we saw on the bulbous Alpine.

This design concept invites the airflow off the top of the nose around the sides (green arrows on the image above) and into the area between the inside of the front tyres and the sides of the chassis.

RB has switched to pullrod front suspension (green highlight), which is no surprise as it is now working more closely with Red Bull and using more of its mechanical parts.

The lower wishbone (yellow highlight above) has a fairly narrow base where it attaches to the chassis. This is to move the rear leg away from the leading edge of the underfloor, but it does increase the loads in both legs, especially under braking. Again, it’s the compromise of aerodynamic against mechanical efficiency.

We can see on the image above that the top wishbone inboard rear leg mounting is quite a bit lower than the front leg mounting. This means that it has a reasonable amount of anti-dive on the front suspension thanks to taking Red Bull’s 2023 package in this area.

The radiator intake (purple highlight on image below) is not dissimilar to the other three cars we have seen launched so far this year. Unsurprisingly, they are all similar to last year’s Red Bull.

One difference is the outer bulge on the sidepod (blue arrow) and the wide valley in the top surface of the sidepod (green arrow).

Both of these manage the radiator spillage when the car is at high speed to make sure it has a minimal effect on the downforce-producing surfaces.

As for the outer floor edge (indicated by the red arrow), this detail is fairly different to other 2024 cars and to last year’s cars.

The sidepod has a very aggressive turning surface just behind and under the radiator inlet (yellow arrows above), which is not unlike what Ferrari had in 2022.

Low down, this airflow will connect to a longitudinal slot gap which runs a lot further forward than we have seen in the past.

The aim here is to extract the airflow from the front corner of the underfloor, so perhaps this slot gap is a new way of trying to achieve that scavenging effect?

We need to reserve judgement on it until we see what pops up in Bahrain.

When it comes to comparisons to Red Bull’s 2023 car, we can see here that Red Bull had a slot gap (red ellipse) between the front wing forward plane and the nose whereas the 2024 RB doesn’t.

But RB has the narrower nose to allow more flow around the side.

Personally, being greedy, I would like to see both.

On the image below we can see the bulge (shown by the green ellipse) required to incorporate the forward lower side impact structure. This is the component that really controls the upper and lower forward floor profile.

Basically, it has to be there and there is not much room for manoeuvre. Again, the radiator inlet (purple highlight) is as high as possible to open up the sidepod undercut.

As I said earlier, I’m not quite sure that the outer edge of the floor detail (indicated by the red arrows above) is what we will see in Bahrain. It looks a bit tame to me. However, this turning effect shown in the yellow arrows that the actual sidepod vertical profile generates could work hand in hand with that slot gap mentioned earlier, or it could just be to house the cooling system.

The rear suspension is a pushrod-operated system (green highlight on the image below).

With the upper wishbone forward leg (blue highlight above) mounted to the gearbox lower than the rear leg, there is a fair amount of anti-lift.

This will reduce the vertical movement on the rear suspension during braking, but this package is not surprising as RB is using the Red Bull gearbox and rear suspension package.

In this side view comparison to last year's AlphaTauri, we can see RB has now gone from 2023's Ferrari-style radiator intake (green ellipse below) to a more Red Bull-style radiator intake.

Again, this is all about minimising the aerodynamic disturbance when the radiators can’t cope with as much airflow as is presented to them at high speed. The excess has to spill somewhere, so controlling it means the car is aerodynamically consistent through the speed range.

We can also see this more aggressive turning surface (yellow arrows above) below and rearward of that intake.

Overall, this is a neat and tidy package and a good starting point. I’m pretty sure there will be more detail to get stuck into when we see the Bahrain test version, so it will be interesting to see what has been hidden and what level of initial detail the team will come up with.

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