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"Aero still king," insists Red Bull's technical director

NEWS STORY
03/02/2021

While the development tokens mean teams can try to recover performance lost to the 2021 regulation tweaks, Red Bull technical director, Jody Egginton insists that aero development is "still king".

Though this year's cars are essentially last year's cars carried over - or around 60 - 70% - tweaks to the regulations, especially in terms of floor design, which in turn impacts the rear brake ducts and diffuser, mean that downforce will be reduced.

With McLaren needing to completely redesign the rear of its car to accommodate the switch from Renault engines to Mercedes, development tokens have been given to the teams in order that they can upgrade their cars also.

However, Red Bull technical director, Jody Egginton believes that, as ever, it will be in-season aero development that shapes how the pecking order ultimately plays out.

"At the end of the day, aerodynamics are still not heavily controlled by tokens," he tells Motorsport.com. "You could elect to do a new nose, but a nose is not going to make or break your aerodynamic concept when nearly every other aspect apart from the rearward part of the floor of the regulations is the same.

"You could fiddle with the chassis a bit," he continues. "I guess everyone other than McLaren is keeping the same PU, so their tokens go into integrating all of that. They've got to get that power unit to fit. I'm sure there's compromise and reward in there for them, so what that will do for them in detail, I don't know.

"No, I don't think the tokens are a differentiator on aerodynamic concept, and it's aero that's still king. Everyone will use their tokens for something, but I don't think that's the key differentiator to decide the order."

Last week, Mercedes technical boss, James Allison admitted that trying to claw back the aerodynamic performance lost as a result of the 2021 regulation tweaks has been one of the team's biggest challenges, though he understands the need for the changes.

"There was a concern that if we left the aerodynamic development of these cars unchecked then the performance would just keep increasing as it has been doing it for a number of seasons now," he said. "It would keep increasing to a level where the cars would just simply outgrow the tyres and perhaps even aspects of the circuits.

"There has been a triangular cut-out to the edges of the floor in front of the rear wheels which when you see it you'll think 'that doesn't look that big', but on its own in its rawest form if you just chop that area off your car it'll take about a second a lap away from the car."

As a result, along with changes to the rear brake ducts and diffuser, the area around the bargeboard is also impacted.

"The combination of those four effects in their rawest form, just cut-off and trimmed back in a way that the rules require, brings the performance of the car way back to sort of somewhere near 2019 levels," he explained.

"It's been our challenge over the weeks since those rules, the weeks, and months those rules were set in stone to try to recover as much of the performance as possible.

"That has been quite an entertaining ride in the wind tunnel and in CFD to try and make sure that we get that performance as far as possible back onto the car."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 16/02/2021 12:31

"@MossMan....' nowhere ICE will outperform electric in a few years time' ? That's a bold statement! So, by '25 e/syntheticlectric will be running a GP faster than a F1 car with ICE/hydrogen synthetic combination? Four years is a few years. I do very much doubt but then again that's just my opinion. For your info, I once sailed as 4th engineer on a Turbine Electric British Merchant Navy vessel. That ship's engines were built by GE in 1936 and when all 5 boilers were linked up she could hit 23knots. Various means of electric propulsion have been around for a very long time. I doubt battery power will usurp ICE in the merchant fleets."

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2. Posted by MossMan, 05/02/2021 14:51

"@kenji accomplishment, yes. So were steam engines - which I also have a fondness for but would rather see them preserved (in working order) as amusement/museum-pieces than to be deployed in the modern world.

Electric already outpaces ICE (e.g. the VW ID-R has the Pike's Peak record, and I forgot to mention its Nurburgring record as well) and advancement is an order of magnitude greater - nowhere ICE will outperform electric in a few years' time.

Electric worse for emissions?!? Climate mantra? Okay, I'm done here."

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3. Posted by kenji, 05/02/2021 14:23

"@ MossMan.....As a retired ex merchant navy marine engineer i still regard the ICE as a work of art. To enable a V8 to successfully run for two hours at 21000RPM peaks is quite an accomplishment and cannot be compared to an 'electric motor'. Yes, the ICE has been around for a very long time but so what? It can still outperform an electric race car. I do wholeheartedly embrace new tech but only when that same new tech has advantages. The environment issue is a red herring and ATM electric, in TOTALITY, is worse for emissions than ICE! There is no problem with supporting the new 'electric' where it is improving the status quo...just let's not get carried away with the climate mantra pushing elites. The current crop of hybrids has been recognised as a failure by many F1 luminaries and i agree with them. It has been forecast that the new engine regs for '25/ '26 will not be as complex as those currently employed."

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4. Posted by MossMan, 04/02/2021 12:45

"It's true that engineers in the aerospace and F1 worlds are basically the same people - as an aerospace engineer with a lifelong interest in F1 (and automotive in general), I have seen first hand when technology develops simultaneously across these fields or crosses back and forth (composites, fluid dynamics, 3D printing...). F1 has always advanced industrial high-tech and vice versa.

On the subject of ICE though, speaking again as an engineer, I have to say that internal combustion to me is not excellence - it is a dinosaur at the end of it's life. Compared to other technologies it's cumbersome and complex (therefore expensive), very inefficient, unhealthy and bad for the environment. F1 hybrid tech definitely helped kick-start the mainstream switch to electric and I believe F1 will itself inevitably become all-electric. Formula E is "rather blah" - but that's probably mostly down to being a one-make series. Electric certainly doesn't have to mean boring. Look, for example, at the VW car going round breaking Pike's Peak records, amongst other things. Ford have a mad Mach-E rallycross car in development. I'm personally looking forward to the Xtreme-E rallies coming in April - still a one-make challenge but should be spectacular."

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5. Posted by kenji, 04/02/2021 11:50

"@ F1 Yank...I think you'll find quite a few F1 engineers have already either studied aeronautics and associated disciplines or had associations with those industries. The fact that F1 has always been a development series, there are moves afoot to curb that aspect, for many reasons, biggest of all being financial investment for minimal returns. With all the hoo har surrounding the possible anthropogenic involvement in climate change the future of bio based fuels is the most interesting...to me that is. I seriously don't look forward to the day when the ICE is discarded!!! The ICE is a beautiful example of engineering excellence whereas electric motors produced by robots are all rather blah."

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6. Posted by F1 Yank, 03/02/2021 19:42

"I love to read this stuff. Seriously, the engineers probably should be involved with a satellite or space program somewhere. The F1 program should be the spearhead of hybrid technology and be shared throughout the industry. Amazing development, technology and application."

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