Another slow start for Red Bull or finally another Newey masterpiece?

22-02-2021 08:15
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Another slow start for Red Bull or finally another Newey masterpiece?

Red Bull Racing will present the new RB16B for the Formula 1 season of 2021 on Tuesday. An upgrade of the RB16 from 2020, but what could be better about the new car to help Max Verstappen to the title?

Slow start to Red Bull

The big negative characteristic of Red Bull in recent years is that they always start too late. At the end of the season, the team can compete with Mercedes, but by then the title is long gone. In 2020, despite big words for the season, that was no different. Red Bull were chasing Mercedes again.

In 2020, the correlation problems were pointed out. Red Bull would have seen things in the wind tunnel that didn't work out on the circuit. So the whole car had to be adapted. A victory in Abu Dhabi was a nice end to the season, but in 2021 Red Bull cannot afford to start with a gap again.

It is not the first time that this has happened to Red Bull and it seems to be a result of the chosen strategy. Where competitor Mercedes shifts attention early every year to the next season in order to make a better start, Red Bull continues to develop until the end. As a result, Red Bull are catching up during that season, but they are again behind at the start of the next season. However, with everything we've heard, it seems like Red Bull has opted for that strategy again.

Unstable rear

So what needs to change about the RB16B? The biggest pain point for the RB16 was the rear of the car. Certainly, at the beginning of the year, it was very restless, so that Verstappen and Alexander Albon sometimes lost control, especially in slower corners. This got better during the season, but this danger will also be lurking in 2021.

With Adrian Newey's "high-rake" concept, Red Bull generally relies on a strong rear of the car to make this concept successful. With a simpler floor and a simpler diffuser, however, Red Bull loses two parts that are very important in generating downforce. Can Newey and his colleagues fill that gap again?

Extra power from Honda

However, the biggest step may still have to be taken on engine power. Honda had visibly taken a step in 2019, but in 2020 reliability problems played a major role again and the speed was not always at the level of Mercedes. With the new engine planned for 2022, Honda hopes to close the gap.

Red Bull did catch up during 2020, but the question is to what extent this was also calculated by Mercedes. They had already shifted the focus to 2021 for some time. Did this give Honda and Red Bull false hope, or can Verstappen finally take a shot at the world title? We will get the real answer in Bahrain.

This article was written and originally published by Tim on the Dutch edition of GPblog.com.

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