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Red Bull Racing

Why Red Bull in particular has a kerb problem

A difficult weekend for Red Bull in Monaco saw the team score sixth with Max Verstappen as questions were raised over the limitations of the car around the track - but why does the RB20 suffer over the bumps and kerbs?

Verstappen FP2 Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

The Monaco Grand Prix was a struggle for Red Bull - with a sixth-place finish for Max Verstappen and a DNF for Sergio Perez, the team left Monaco with "only" eight points.

Meanwhile, the Austrian team was forced to watch its rivals collect a lot of points, making both championships a lot more exciting from a neutral perspective. 

Throughout the weekend, both Red Bull drivers complained about how poorly the car handled the kerbs around the circuit, a problem that has existed before for Red Bull.

In order to get a strong idea of how these problems arose, we must take a closer look not only at the RB20, but also at VCARB 01, as the car of Red Bull's sister team does not suffer over the kerbs. 

RB run with the same type of suspension as Red Bull, so it is strange to see that one team has problems and the other does not.

It is not the RB20's rear suspension that is a limitation for Red Bull on circuits with bumps and high kerbs. Red Bull is currently running an updated version of the rear suspension, something RB does not yet have. 

In reality, the difference lies in the design: Red Bull uses a deliberately stiffer rear axle than its sister team. 

As is known, a car with very stiff suspensions, at least in theory, allows you to make the best use of the constancy of the ride heights to ensure maximum effectiveness on the floor of the car - something very important in today's ground-effect era.

 Despite the fact that Red Bull and RB cooperate in many areas, RB still designs its own car, allowing the team from Faenza to make its own choice in terms of philosophy.

The text continues after the image.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool


Verstappen repeatedly complained about the difficulty of attacking the kerbs during the weekend in Monaco, but the RB20's problem stems mainly from its inability to use less rigid setups as its rivals do. 

This is due to the philosophy behind the Red Bull, which is more focused on a constant ride height. It is a very specific choice made during the design phase to maximize aerodynamic performance at most circuits. 

But as mentioned, with rival teams now significantly closer than they were at the beginning of the season, this presents an undeniable limitation. It is correct to say that the VCARB 01 evolved from the concept of the RB19, even if RB's car is only in certain ways inspired by the most dominant F1 car ever. 

The weaker points, especially looking at the previously mentioned philosophy, were deliberately not adopted by Red Bull's sister team. As a result, the current problems arise in Milton Keynes, for now, not in Faenza.

The fact that this season's problem with the RB20's extreme stiffness has already occurred at three different tracks, Miami, Imola and Monaco, essentially lies in the fact that McLaren and Ferrari have designed and developed a car that interprets the ground-effect car concept almost as effectively as the RB20. 

In Miami and Imola, Verstappen could still make the difference, but in Monaco the shortcoming became painfully obvious. Not even Verstappen's talent could change that.

It is not the rear suspension combined with the new gearbox that limits the RB20's performance on tracks such as Monaco compared to the VCARB 01, but the aerodynamic concept. That concept was designed and chosen to provide maximum performance at constant and especially extremely low ride height. 

In practice, it was the conditions of the last three circuits that showed  the RB20 can no longer be considered an all-round car. 

It is now difficult to estimate to what extent the new developments during the season will be able to correct the limitations compared to the direct competitors. However, an extremely dominant season, like last year, will not be on the cards this time. 

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