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Red Bull Racing

Has TD018 had a 'devastating' impact on Red Bull's RB19?

RacingNews365's Paolo Filisetti takes a look at the potential impact TD018 had on Red Bull's RB19 in the Singapore Grand Prix?

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The difficulties Red Bull faced with the RB19 at Marina Bay culminated with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez being eliminated in Q2, and lining up 11th and 13th on the grid.

It was clear from Friday that the Milton Keynes-based team was suffering from difficult corner entry, but also strong rear-end instability on exit.

After the elimination, the team spoke generically about set-up problems, evidenced by the fact that it experimented with various combinations in terms of wing levels, suspension set-ups and ride heights.

Christian Horner himself tried to play down the influence of the introduction of TD018, with the FIA clamping down on flexibility and controlled deformation of wing elements and any potential impact this had on the car.

Analysis of Red Bull

Analysing the timing data relating to the best times through each sector of the lap, the RB19 lost about a clear second compared to the Ferraris on a hypothetical best lap - when the best sector times are added together.

In the first sector, the difference between the time of the Ferrari and Red Bull was around four-tenths, the same in Sector 2, before it was reduced to two-tenths in the final segment of the lap - which is the fastest section.

This analysis also makes it possible to evaluate that in the direct comparison between Carlos Sainz's pole lap and Verstappen's Q2 lap, the Spaniard was two-and-a-half tenths ahead of the Dutchman in the slow corners, and about three-tenths up on the straights.

These are absolute values that indicate how slow the RB19 was, and strongly calls into question the thesis that it was simply an incorrect set-up that affected its performance so negatively.

The impression one gained from observing the dynamic behaviour of the RB19 - which had adopted decidedly lower ride heights on Saturday than Friday and returned to a set-up run in previous races - was that is remained too sensitive to longitudinal load transfers, creating the instable rear-end.

This had been highlighted in FP3, where the car also suffered from the problem of torque transfer that was too abrupt when both up and downshifting, which Verstappen repeatedly complained about to engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

The sensitivity of the car is further indicated by the fact that any set-up changes were almost imperceptible to the drivers' feeling and sensations.

By this we mean that the RB19 had effectively changed from a stable machine, glued to the track and insensitive to bumps to a vehicle with unpredictable behaviour on corner exit and under braking.

No updates were introduced on a development level, just the high downforce rear-wings, it seems correct to consider the behaviour of the car as influenced by external elements.

The impact of TD018?

Refuting the statements of team management, nothing else but the introduction of TD018 could have upset the delicate balance of the car.

Having tried various configurations and settings with different ride heights and without arriving at as satisfactory solution to induce sufficient energy on the tyres to grip and stability that the drivers needed, unequivocally indicates the effects linked to the impossibility of managing load generated by the wings in a straight line and through the controlled deformation of the flaps has had a devastating effect on the balance of the car.

As for Ferrari, it is equally clear that the balance of the SF-23 was perfect since the start of the weekend.

What was striking, as in Monza, was the almost total lack of porpoising, despite the very low ride height, which was not conservative owing to the bumps of Marina Bay.

As reiterated by the drivers, it is clear that since Monza, Ferrari has found a way to manage downforce load distribution, making the aerodynamic centre of pressure more stable and reducing longitudinal mass transfers.

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