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Formula 1

Why Red Bull has added ‘teeth’ to its diffuser for Monaco

by Gary Anderson
2 min read

Red Bull has modified the upper diffuser turning vanes on its Formula 1 car to incorporate a saw-tooth slot gap for the Monaco Grand Prix.

These small saw-teeth will set up lots of small vortices to improve the performance of the diffuser.

These vortices are like small tornadoes, or twisters as we often hear them called. At their centre or origin they are very powerful and generate a huge amount of suction, but when we see a real one it lifts cars and even houses into the air. Vacuum cleaner manufacturers use this concept to improve the performance of their products.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Monaco Grand Prix Thursday Monte Carlo, Monaco

In F1 it improves the suction of the diffuser on the underfloor.

With the average ride height being higher in Monaco than at any other track, getting that little bit more downforce from the high-rake philosophy of the Red Bull is not easy. And with this year’s reduced outer edge floor detail regulations, anything that can improve the performance of this area will be a benefit.

It might also increase the turbulence behind the Red Bull, which could just make it that bit more difficult for a Mercedes to tow up and overtake in the race. While it’s difficult to overtake in Monaco already, it’s no bad thing to make it even harder.

Williams teeth wing Monza 2004

Nothing is new in Formula 1 and we have seen such teeth designs used in the past. For example, Williams ran similar details on its rear wing at Monza in 2004.

However, this was for a completely different reason – to improve the downforce-to-drag ratio of its low-downforce rear wing.

Mercedes teeth wing 2016

More recently, Mercedes had teeth on the trailing edge of its lower rear wing element in 2016, and also experimented with the concept in 2019.

This was to keep the main airflow attached to its underside when the DRS was open and, in turn, improve the reattachment after the DRS was closed.

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