Red Bull's split wing approach explained

Red Bull's split wing approach explained
By AutoSport

13/07/2018 at 12:32Updated

Red Bull-Renault's long-standing power deficit to Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari has often forced it to be aggressive with its wing settings to minimise its straightline time loss.

It regularly trims out its wings, and it has not been unknown for Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to experiment with wildly different wing levels.

The high-speed characteristics of Silverstone, with the flat-out corners effectively being treated as straights, meant that Red Bull had to go pretty extreme last weekend.

Both Mercedes and Ferrari ran with the low-drag style wings that were used in Baku, which forced Red Bull to try to go with an even smaller angle.

The above image taken from the British Grand Prix gives an indication of how little angle Red Bull is running compared to Ferrari and Mercedes.

It also put Ricciardo and Verstappen on entirely different front wing designs to try to find the best way forward.

Verstappen pressed on with a design Red Bull has already deployed when it needs to reduce downforce this season, and that last appeared in Montreal.

The wing features a revised flapped section, taking up much less space than is possible (arrow) at the maximum amount, to help reduce the downforce being generated so the aero balance is in line with what is being run at the rear of the car.

It's a tactic that Red Bull has commonly utilised, but it is more difficult for the team to find gains by doing this at high-speed circuits where Mercedes and Ferrari also start trimming downforce levels.

Ricciardo took things a little further than Verstappen with his front wing, running a design with an even more aggressive flap configuration.

He started out with a Gurney strip attached to the trailing edge of the uppermost flap in Friday's first free practice session, as he looked to balance the car through the high-speed corners.

For qualifying and the race he sacrificed that balance and extra downforce in search of more straightline speed by removing the Gurney strip.

In the end, unfortunately, Red Bull's power deficit was too much to allow its chassis to overcome the time lost on the straights and it spent the weekend a clear third-best.