Why Red Bull added a shelf to its F1 bonnet

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The team made a significant change to the shape of the body where the sidepods and engine cover meet.

This has created distinctive channels for airflow to follow, both on the trigger guard and over the shoulder of the halo.

Interestingly, if we compare it to Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, it’s somewhat of a similar spirit with the AT03 that has taken this “shelf” approach since the start of the season.

AlphaTauri AT03 rear detail

Photo by: Uncredited

And, just like AlphaTauri, this has resulted in a change in the position of the upper cooling grille panel, so that it isolates the heat rejected by the panel from the airflow passing over the pontoon.

By creating this “shelf”, the team was able to isolate the passage of airflow over the top surface of the pontoon.

Additionally, with the engine cowl exit being both raised and flattened, it provides a much more pronounced undercut in the coke bottle area to improve floor and beam wing performance.

Detail of the Red Bull Racing RB18

Detail of the Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Uncredited

Red Bull also continues to optimize its floor assembly, with revisions being made to the strakes and floor edge as the team looks for small but meaningful ways to improve flow conditions that add up to a net gain at all levels.

That’s why you’ll see teams using sections of ground panels this season, so they have the agility to make those changes, without having to redo the whole structure.

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Changes are also on the way with the RB18’s front brake assembly, as the team has revised the caliper design so that it is not unduly affected by temperature spikes from other nearby components.

This matches the team’s recent addition of a surface treatment to the caliper and brake rotor shroud to help manage temperature exchange, with the new version coated on the left, bottom, and the unprocessed version on the right.

Red Bull Racing RB18 caliper detail
Red Bull Racing RB18 caliper detail


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