How a setup error disguised Red Bull F1’s front wing progress

Red Bull’s front wing became a talking point following the Turkish Grand Prix, when Max Verstappen revealed that a setting errors had scuppered his chances in the Formula 1 race.

Having been so quick throughout practice and qualifying, it all went wrong on Sunday afternoon when Verstappen found himself unable to maintain that performance edge in the race.

While a poor getaway certainly did not help, it emerged afterwards that one side of his wing had been set at a different angle to the other – as can be seen in the above image – and was out by about seven degrees.

That meant the car did not handle as it should have done, and the consequence was a higher tyre degradation.

It also meant that Verstappen was unable to show just how much of a step forward a new update package had brought to Istanbul, as the team pushed hard with developing its RB16.

Whilst the changes to the nose area and rear of the car might seem small in isolation, if considered as a collective they do mark a significant sea change in Red Bull’s development and set its stall out for the direction it will take going forward.

Front wing tweaks

At the front of the car the team had a revised front wing and cape, both of which have an impact on the formation and control of the Y250 vortex, which can have a corresponding effect at the rear of the car too.

The front wing has already been an area of intense development for Red Bull during the season but up until now most of its work has centered on the outer section. Changes have been made to the make up of the endplate, the footplate and underside of the wing, in order to generate outwash that unlocks performance downstream.

The update that arrived in Turkey (left) was only raced by Verstappen, but features a revised layout to the main plane and flaps at the inboard end. Rather than the main plane being divided into two slender segments, with the third flap also mated to it at the rear, it now features just one much deeper segment.

This has not only resulted in the team altering the shape of the main plane, as it connects with the neutral central section, it also means that four of the flap tips are exposed to the airflow, rather than two, significantly altering the make up of the Y250 vortex.

This redistribution of the flaps also means that as the second and third flaps are no longer anchored to the neutral section, the team has had to install additional bridging supports too.

The Red Bull RB16 features several cape slots on the nose

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The changes to the front wing also coincide with a revision to the cape, as a letterbox-style inlet has been added on its upper surface where the body of the nose finishes and the cape is fully exposed behind it.

This change ties in with the alterations made to the front wing ahead of it, with the airflow being received by the cape needing to be tuned in order to get more performance from both parts.

More details of the Red Bull’s front wing

Unfortunately for Red Bull, any progress made with this package was scuppered during the Turkish Grand Prix, as a mistake during a pitstop meant that the angle of the flaps on either side of Verstappen’s wing differed by approximately seven degrees. This led to the aero imbalance that hindered him.

Exhaust revisions

The RB16’s exhaust layout has been changed by the team

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

At the rear of the car, the team opted to move the wastegate pipework from it trademark position above the main exhaust outlet and place them in a more conventional position beside the crash structure.

This required a small change to the shape of the lower T-Wing that it has hung from either side of the crash structure too. The pipework has been routed underneath it and some gold leaf added to the exposed wishbone above it.

Red Bull RB16 exhaust layout

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Interestingly, having resided in that higher position [1] and having been moved down beside the main exhaust outlet [2], Red Bull has also altered the central portion of the diffuser too.

In changes that appear to have been made at the circuit, the central section of the diffuser [3] has been strengthened and a surface coating used to help influence the airflow’s behaviour [4].

What appear to be rivets in the central section are fixed to a stiffener on the other side that connects all of these surfaces to the main body of the diffuser. This should help to improve flow consistency and prevent the gaps between each of the surfaces closing as load builds.

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