Red Bull fast on the straights
Whereas in the past Red Bull Racing always struggled on the straights and the real power circuits, in 2022 it is actually dominating at high speed. Red Bull itself points to the strength of the Red Bull Powertrain (the old Honda engine), but competitors see something else that makes the RB18 so strong.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc mentioned it after the Singapore Grand Prix. Vettel expressed his inability to defend against the flying Red Bull, and Leclerc noted that the Red Bull car mainly gains speed as the straight progresses. This is because the rear would drop down to allow the diffuser to work better and reduce drag.
According to Auto, Motor und Sport Mercedes was actually a star at this in 2021. The rear of the Mercedes car also dropped down last year to increase speed. For Red Bull, with the high rake concept, this was not doable because the gap to the ground was too big at the rear of the car. In 2022, that will be a different story.
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Whereas teams like Mercedes have deliberately chosen not to use this concept in 2022 precisely because the ground-effect cars are already very close to the track, the high rake concept does come in handy for Red Bull now. This is because at the rear, Red Bull has more space than the other teams, allowing the possibility of dropping down.
''When stationary, the Red Bull has the highest ground clearance at the rear, and the lowest at high speeds,'' Mercedes engineers told AMuS. Mercedes did not opt for this because it causes the car to become heavier. After all, you need weight and space to create the effect. Besides, Mercedes' car is already closer to the ground because of its lower chassis.
For Red Bull, it has ensured that it dominates on the straight in 2022, making it almost unbeatable in the races. The car was, however, a lot heavier, especially at the beginning of the season. As a result, Red Bull struggled more on twisty tracks and qualifying. During the season, however, Red Bull fixed that problem with updates to other parts of the car.