The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is unique on the Formula 1 calendar, requiring less downforce than any other in the F1 World Championship.
The long straights connected by the chicanes that characterize the layout of this track favour maximum aerodynamic efficiency, even at the expense of the downforce load produced.
It is therefore common practice among teams to equip their cars with extremely reduced chord wings and flaps with minimal incidence, in search of maximum straight-line speed.
Though this configuration is universally adopted, Red Bull’s solution is of particular interest. As is well known, the RB18 stands out in terms of efficiency compared to its rivals, so this weekend’s approach is striking, as it indicates that nothing has been left to chance by the engineers under the direct supervision of Adrian Newey and Pierre Wache.
Specifically, the trailing edge of the rear wing has been cut into a crescent following the same method adopted by Mercedes in Saudi Arabia (picture below).
In this way, the drag produced by the closed flap is substantially reduced, but so is the effectiveness of the DRS, which plays only a marginal function on this track.
Ferrari to have the edge in top speed at Monza?
This solution is justified by Red Bull’s fear that even the efficiency of the RB18 - in the configuration seen first in Baku, and then in Spa - would not guarantee the ability to overtake effectively.
Red Bull had previously struggled to overtake Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari at Baku, whose start-finish straight is 2.2km in length.
In fact, despite their conspicuous advantage over Ferrari, Red Bull fear the performance of the Scuderia’s power unit 066/7 that was introduced at Spa, with Ferrari’s ultimate performance masked by aerodynamic problems there and at Zandvoort.
On this front, Ferrari come to Monza with a low downforce rear wing – tested only in FP2 at Spa – with an almost straight main profile and reduced incidence (picture below).
Of particular importance is the confirmation by Mattia Binotto of a comparative test in today's free practice, between the latest version of the French Grand Prix-era floor and the previous model, as Ferrari seek to evaluate which setup induces more energy through the tyres, to speed their warming up and reduce degradation.
A reversion to the pre-French Grand Prix setup may restore the optimal balance of the F1-75 that has been lacking from Paul Ricard onwards, with Binotto acknowledging that the drivers have found the SF-75’s handling not as predictable since then.
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