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Why Newey was 'embarrassed' at Red Bull's title-winning car

Red Bull's RB18 may have won 17 races in a dominant 2022 season, but Adrian Newey and his team struggled with the new car's weight when it first broke cover.

Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey says he was embarrassed by the team's RB18 – even though the car proved the class of the field and eased to both Championships. Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez used the RB18 to win a combined 17 of the 22 races in the 2022 F1 season, with Verstappen setting new individual records for the number of wins and points in a single season. However, like many other teams, Red Bull initially struggled to get down to the minimum weight limit of 798kg. At the season opener in Bahrain, the RB18 tipped the scales some 20kg over the permitted limit, being around 5kg heavier than Mercedes and 10kg more than Ferrari – a state of affairs that Newey called 'almost embarrassing'. "A lot of things came together that drove the weight up more than expected," Newey told Auto Motor und Sport , adding that the change from 13- to 18-inch wheels had had a bigger impact than anticipated. "The tyres were heavier than we initially thought. When you develop a car, you work with tolerances on the estimated weight. We thought we were going to be close to the weight limit, in fact we were well over it." "We had a problem passing the side crash test and had to reinforce the structure there on the chassis. That means you pay for it in weight." Newey added that several smaller parts on the car were heavier than necessary, which contributed to the RB18 clocking in at a heftier weight than first thought. "Some parts like the fairing were just too heavy because they were put together in a hurry. Then there were some stupid items. The footrest was a kilogram too heavy – it was designed at the last minute."

Losing weight helped with RB18 setup

Over the course of the season, Red Bull managed to trim some fat from the RB18, not only aiding Newey and his engineers with setting up the car, but also helping the car to be kinder to its tyres. "Our car was very difficult to set up in the first part of the season," said Newey. "We recognized our small working window as a weakness and worked on it specifically. "In addition, we lost weight. That not only helps on one lap. It also reduces tyre wear. That is a function of the load on the tyres, be it weight or downforce."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix