Following on from our in-depth analysis of the solutions Mercedes are trialling in a bid to get on top of their issues with the W13, it's time to have a look at Red Bull's RB18 after the team won their first race of the year in Saudi Arabia. In stark contrast to the travails that Mercedes are currently encountering, Red Bull's alterations for the race in Jeddah consisted of mere tweaks, limiting the changes to the adoption of medium to low downforce rear wings.
Stripping back the downforce on the RB18
It was interesting to note that Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, after a comparison of the medium and low downforce wings, both opted for the lower downforce configuration for their RB18s. The rear wings adopted were decidedly lower on aerodynamic load, thanks to the higher position of the main profile that clearly reduced the incidence of the flap. This is quite a similar situation to last season, when Red Bull usually opted for a lower downforce set-up for the RB16B compared to their rivals. Ultimately, Verstappen went for an even lower downforce set-up than Perez, as he ran a front wing with a slightly lower incidence than the Mexican – something that proved crucial during the race as he found a way past Charles Leclerc down the pit straight. It can be said that Red Bull, having solved the issues related to the fuel system that struck them down in Bahrain, have returned to the levels of excellence seen throughout the 2021 season.
What are Red Bull's upgrade plans?
It is expected that Red Bull's development of the RB18 will quickly attempt to address one of the car's main issues, i.e. its weight. From our sources, for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, many elements of the car will undergo a "diet". It's expected that the whole floor will go through a re-design, especially in terms of structure, in order to make it lighter. Other elements going through a slimming-down process could be the suspension uprights, which would reduce the overall weight by around three kilogrammes. It's believed that the total weight reduction, including bodywork elements, the floor and the uprights, could be around eight kilogrammes. This would equate to approximately 0.25 seconds gained per lap.