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Red Bull's bold upgrade plan revealed as they try to fend off Ferrari

Max Verstappen and Red Bull lead the way in the standings at the midway point of the season, but Charles Leclerc and Ferrari's fight has been reignited with victory in the Austrian Grand Prix. With these update packages, Red Bull hope to make the difference in the coming months.

All-new technical regulations came into play in 2022, with Red Bull design chief and F1 technical guru Adrian Newey previously calling it the most comprehensive set of rule changes he has witnessed in his career. Compared to previous years - decades, in fact - the vast majority of an F1 car's downforce is now generated under the floor via Venturi tunnels. Front and rear wings have not disappeared, but most of the smaller aerodynamic flaps and details have, meaning bodywork creates far less downforce. With these wholesale changes come plenty of opportunities for teams to learn, develop and make improvements as the season wears on. However, thanks to a budget cap being introduced in 2021, the top teams can no longer simply throw money at problems and develop their way out of trouble, all while outfits with smaller budgets struggle. Nonetheless, giants Red Bull and Ferrari still head the F1 pecking order, with Mercedes closing back in after some early-season struggles. As the races go on, Mercedes will be looking to make it a three-way battle for F1's top prizes, but Red Bull have special development plans of their own as they attempt to do the double for the first time since 2013. RacingNews365.com has learned that a series of updates are on the way, starting at the very next round.

Updates from the bottom to the top

F1 teams have deployed various approaches to upgrades so far this season, with some bringing new parts to every race, and others barely making changes. Mercedes, for example, have pushed through small updates on a regular basis, making slow but steady progress with a concept that they insist promises plenty. Red Bull and Ferrari - with strong foundations - are doing the same, as they try to optimise their packages and pull clear in the title race. Further back, the likes of Aston Martin and Williams opted for complete concept overhauls, with their initial designs failing to deliver. At Red Bull, the approach of optimisation looks set to continue, with changes expected from the bottom to the top of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez's cars over the coming races. RacingNews365.com understands that Red Bull will bring an updated floor to the next round of the season in France, before making further tweaks to the RB18's sidepods at Verstappen's home race in the Netherlands. And, although there is just under a month and a half between the two aforementioned updates, Red Bull are also factoring in track-specific modifications. In Belgium and Italy, F1 teams traditionally use wings and other parts that generate less downforce and increased top speeds, with 2022 no exception.

Dotting the i's and crossing the t's

While development on their 2023 car is already likely to be in full swing in the background, Red Bull are planning even more updates before this season is out. Following the triple-header sequence at Zandvoort, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, a final push is expected during the late flyaway events. It is understood that one more set of car upgrades will be introduced in Singapore, the 17th round of 22 scheduled in 2022. Alongside the quest for performance, Red Bull's weight-saving mission will also continue – something that began as soon as the car hit the track. Red Bull's plan is, of course, subject to change, as special circumstances - such as a major crash that hits the development budget - could lead to update packages being delayed or even scrapped. Meanwhile, should Verstappen go on a winning run, with the Dutchman and Red Bull stretching out comfortable points leads, the team may opt to call time on the RB18 and put all of their resources into the RB19. Either way, the development race looks set to be a major factor in the outcome of this year's world titles. Indeed, both Red Bull and Ferrari have been saying since the pre-season that updates and small details will make the difference. And Ferrari won't be standing still either. Game on .

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