The Silverstone track, where next weekend's British Grand Prix will be held, has always represented a crucial point in the season precisely because of its position on the calendar, preceding the Austrian GP by just one week, the 11th of 22 races, and the exact halfway point of the F1 World Championship.
The Northamptonshire track is particularly technical, characterised by rapid changes of direction such as the famous Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel corners that the 2022 F1 cars will face for the first time. It is possible that their speeds through that section of track will be decidedly higher than in the past thanks to the downforce generated by the current floors that exploit the ground effect.
It is also the home track for seven out of 10 teams, including Red Bull, based just a few miles away in Milton Keynes. Currently at the top of both Drivers' and Constructors' Championships, the team has overseen a large package of developments on the RB18, which according to the objectives of the technicians headed by Adrian Newey, should correct some "minimal" weaknesses of the car in terms of performance.
Red Bull's Silverstone updates
There will not be only aerodynamic interventions; in fact, rumours suggest that many of the car's components have been redesigned over the last three months, to obtain a functional and weight optimisation.
The bottom will be new in terms of the construction process, in terms of orientation of the carbon fibre to ensure maximum stiffness without the aid of additional tie rods, and in terms of the design of the lower channels.
A peculiar feature of this element of the RB18, since its debut, has been the variability of the sections of the lower Venturi channels, and also the fact that their internal profile was not continuous, but characterised by evident steps.
In the evolution introduced in Spain, this factor became externally visible with an evident surface hump that conceals a lower vertical profile with the function of flow diverter.
The optimisation of the lower flows was the basis of the positive progression of the performance of this car in the twisty sections of the circuits visited so far, but at Silverstone, the latest evolution should also represent a solid starting point for the lower aerodynamic concept of the future RB19.
Red Bull's understanding of the porpoising phenomenon was already very good from the beginning of the season, with the current car almost free from the bouncing that has significantly affected many rival cars.
The team has been able to take advantage of data collected from the start of the season, and has learnt from very accurate simulations that would have defined the ultimate profile of the RB18's bottom that will be introduced this weekend.
It is significant that this will happen at Silverstone after the introduction at the Canadian GP of the FIA’s Technical Directive 39.
This was strongly protested by Red Bull and Ferrari, who, albeit with decidedly different methods and visual results, have both succeeded in managing porpoising without having to compromise the performance of their cars.
The Red Bull floor, from the beginning of the season, has been characterised by a particular profiling of the internal edge of the Venturi channels, with evident steps that determine a specific management of the lower flows. The version that will be introduced at Silverstone will present an even more extreme internal profile in the discontinuities, for a very precise management of flows and underneath pressures.
RB18 Rear Wing
In Baku, there were problems with the RB18's DRS actuator. At Silverstone, alongside a revised version of the rear wing, a new DRS actuator, an evolution of the current one, should be introduced.
F1 Podcast: What's next in F1's porpoising row?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Canadian Grand Prix, including the fierce debate over the FIA's intervention on porpoising.