Not only Max Verstappen, but also Alex Albon seems to be more comfortable with him RB16 than on previous weekends (even though the asphalt doesn’t offer any grip), which is probably related to the changes the team has made to the front of the car.
Continuous updates from Red Bull have allowed them to get closer to Mercedes throughout the season, as the German squad slowed down its 2020 development long ago, and the energy drinkers now focus on the front wing for performance.
For the Turkish GP, they made three changes to the wing, including tweaks to the shape of the rear wing. endplate, in the curved section between the footplate and the endplate, and finally in the flap Gurney mounted on the rear edge of the footplate.
They may seem like very small and isolated modifications, but together they have a much larger effect.
Put yourself in the situation by imagining a gear where if one part fails, the others fail, and where a change in one of them will result in designers having to go back and optimize the others, which becomes a constant game of pull and loosen to find the best arrangement.
The shape of the footplate it’s something that’s in a constant state of flux, as teams test various contours and sizes over and over again.
In recent years a more arched solution came into vogue, but now we’re apparently at a point where a flatter, more square shape is preferred, much like the one we see Red Bull using here.
However, it is the central part of the wing that has changed the most in recent races, as Red Bull introduced a groove under the wing that required the designers to modify the space of the wing. footplate and the endplate, which causes the appearance of a kind of blister on the upper surface.
It is not yet clear if the groove is part of a larger system that could ‘blow out’ the trailing edge of the endplate, or it just has an effect on the pressure gradient.
But what is clear is that its size and shape will be affected by these latest revisions, since that blister created on the upper surface of the joint between the footplate and the endplate.
Meanwhile, the flap Gurney which previously formed a square with the rear edge of the footplate it is now tilted. That creates an articulation with the outer rear corner, as the team clearly likes to play with the way the vortices that form in that area operate.
Red Bull It has also arrived in Turkey with a new ‘cape’ to try, which features a letterbox-style entrance on both sides of the section where it departs from the main body of the nose.
The shape of the inlet suggests that the airflow will be drawn from the top surface to the bottom to improve performance. That makes it possible to assume that the long ‘cape’ they were running in either didn’t work as expected or didn’t give the kind of aerodynamic consistency they’d want.
Red Bull tested the different setups during free practice sessions on Friday, while they outfitted the car with Kiel probe grills to collect data on the performance of those parts.
This is crucial in the development cycle, as it allows the team to assess whether the parts are working as expected and as they had seen in the simulation work.