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Red Bull expects higher top speed

How real the RB18 presented on Wednesday afternoon was is an open question, but the Red Bull technology managers assume that the new Formula 1 vehicles will be significantly faster on the straights in 2022. Although there have not yet been any kilometers driven on the route, the teams have already collected enough data through their simulations.

For technical director Pierre Wache, the speed on the straights is also one of the most interesting points before the new season. Because the cars draw more of their downforce from the ground effect instead of from wings etc., the lower air resistance should ensure a higher top speed.

“What they clearly wanted to do is generate the downforce from the ground versus before where it was generated from the ground but also mainly from the front wing, rear wing and bodywork,” says Wache. “This will definitely affect the car’s handling, mechanical grip and drag.”

“This generation of downforce is quite efficient and these types of cars should be significantly faster on the straights at this level of downforce,” he says.

For designer Adrian Newey, the 2022 rule changes are the biggest in almost 40 years: “It was a very unusual process,” he says of the development. “These were huge changes, the biggest since 1983, when Venturi cars were banned in favor of a flat underbody.”

Tires bigger overall

Other changes include a longer nose and new 18-inch tires. “The idea behind it is relevant to series production,” says chief engineer Paul Monaghan, looking at the new tires. “Most road cars today have relatively large wheels, but with a low profile.”

“We increased the size of the wheels to 18 inches. Of course, that made the car a bit heavier. The tire is bigger overall, which has a pretty big aerodynamic effect,” says Monaghan.

“And then you also have to try to understand the characteristics of the big tyre. We are somewhat familiar with last year’s tyres. It’s a bit like a new drawing board for us.” It remains to be seen who did it best.

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