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Red Bull Racing

Aerodynamics are not the only secret of Red Bull's radical RB20

The first day of practice for the Bahrain GP provided a concrete opportunity to take a closer look at the cars in the pit-lane at Sakhir.

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To news overview © Michael Potts/RN365

The first day of practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix provided the first concrete opportunity to observe the 2024 cars up close in the Sakhir pit-lane.

Attention was practically polarized by the Red Bull RB20, where careful observation of the details of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez's car made it possible to highlight how its aerodynamic concept is not its only strong point.

That is, the extreme aerodynamics alone, however effective, would not be able to provide a substantial advantage over rivals. The approach of Adrian Newey and Pierre Wache, in fact, was to optimize the "car system" as a whole, starting from its dynamic characteristics.

By this, the chassis and above all the suspension constitute the platform around which the aerodynamics of the RB20 were refined. Without perfect dynamic balance, aerodynamic performance would be decidedly less decisive, despite the obvious efforts to seek performance through careful management of the air flows that touch every part of the car.

An interesting element that highlights how the car's dynamic platform has been taken to the extreme concerns the front suspension.

Two details catch the eye; on the one hand the inclination of the front arms of the upper suspension wishbone, which not only reduces pitching but also shifts the roll centre, effectively almost cancelling it.

Furthermore, the connecting link embedded in the chassis between the two front pick up points of the suspension stands out, increased in its central section.

This central link works as a sort of torsion bar that dampens the oscillations of the front end, in a perfectly legal way. It seems correct to report that it is not, in truth, an absolute novelty, as it is also present, albeit with a smaller section (thickness), on the RB18 and RB19.

The sophistication of the dynamics of this car brings with it a contraindication that the second practice session highlighted. The reference goes to the sensitivity to minimal changes in setup, therefore, if the perfect balance is not created without the need for minimal incorrect adjustments or variable conditions, for example, wind, is not achieved, the devastating potential of the RB20 cannot be expressed in its entirety.

Nonetheless, it doesn't seem enough to deceive their rivals, in fact for the Milton Keynes engineers it's just a matter of finding the "fine tune" of the RB20.

RB20 front suspension detail

The circle indicates the connection (link) between the two front pick-up points of the suspension, stiffening the entire assembly, as if it were a single element.

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