With huge media and fan attention Red Bull launched their RB10 last week at Jerez. Much of the cars aero has been kept simple to get through the difficult early testing period, but some 2014 specific features are evident around the front of the car and are worthy of some close analysis.
Typically Red Bull found their own solution to the new Nose regulations, albeit what Newey described as a ‘Keel’ nose is not far from the more common ‘Finger’ nose in concept. The mandatory low nose tip is made up of a rectangular section, sitting neatly between the 135-300mm heights, thus being a narrower cross section than the rounder\squarer noses of other teams. But rather than blending this section backwards into the underside of the upper nose, Red Bull have given it a teardrop profile in plan view, then extruded the shape upwards. This creates a pod-like shape on the tip of the actual nose. To be legal this pod needs to be structural and will form some part of the crash zone.
Benefits of this design would be better performance in yaw, the shorter tail of the nose tip presenting less side area to the airflow. This is also likely to be quite a light design, as the upper nose remains quite long and flat, which is structurally more efficient.
On the front of the Keel pod is a “U” shape opening. This appears to be an aerodynamically beneficial way to offset some of the blockage of the Keel by using the ‘driver cooling’ slot. The opening will bleed off the high pressure formed at the stagnation point at the front of the nose. No doubt this does pass inside the nose cone and into the cockpit, but as much as the opening are provided solely for the use of ‘driver cooling’, its long been debatable if these opening provide such a function.
Along with the low nose tip the new rules also demand a lower front bulkhead. This moves the front of the raised chassis (the elevated section from the cockpit to the nose) into a lower position, which is worse for getting airflow to the back of the car. So teams step the front of the chassis this allows a low bulkhead, but keeps the height under the raised chassis as high as possible behind it.
Red Bull have achieved this by sloping the front 10-15cm of monocoque from the maximum 625mm down to the 525mm demanded at the bulkhead. This creates a slope on the top of the monocoque and flat face presented below the monocoque, both of which present aero obstacles for the designers to overcome
Just as with the stepped noses of the past two years, the stepped chassis option presents problems to keep the airflow attached over the nose and to keep the cross section height as small as possible.
Again Red Bull have their own solution (to be fair copied from Sauber) which they also used in 2013, the S-Duct. This uses the flat face presented to the airflow below the chassis to form a scoop that skims off airflow under the nose, an “S” shape duct then routes this flow up and out backwards over the chassis. In venting this way, the S-Duct also smoothes the flow over the step on the top of the nose. This means the nose cone can be shallower as it isn’t trying to fair in the steps. Once the stepped chassis was going to be a legal way to arrange the S-Duct was an obvious means for RBR to mitigate the problems of the stepped chassis.
For 2014 the underside of the chassis gains new turning vanes, these are very different to those from 2013, as they are split into two separately different vanes, with just a small support joining them. Their design probably also aids the airflow remaining attached to the undernose step.
Its too early to make many judgements on the RB10 front wing, its very much a development of 2013 wings and indeed some parts on the wing still bear RB9 part numbers.
Now some 15cm narrower overall, but retaining the 50cm neutral central FIA section. The wing sports 6 elements, with the main plane split into four elements, then two flaps are attached behind them.
Only the flaps are adjustable for angle, the Red Bull means of flap adjustment uses a neat ‘floating’ adjuster, visible as the bulb shaped item above the wings trailing edge. This has been explained in detailed in the past.
The wing also features fences underneath, these direct the airflow inboard and outboard of the front tyre to offset the tyre squirt vortices and keep the tyres wake away from the centre of the car. Last year these underwing fences also extended above the wing to form shark fins ahead of the wings slot gaps. These are probably extending the vortex generating effect from under the wing to over it. Although they may also serve functions as slot gap separators and to deter tyre marbles form sticking in the slot gaps.
No front camera pods were fitted for the test. These are not now allowed to be aligned with the front wing and must be between 325mm and 525mm above the reference plane. Having seen Mercedes and Ferrari interpretations of the new positioning, its likely Red Bull have similar ideas too. There are some odd edges painted over on the nose and these roughly align with the top of the nose cone and top wishbone. It’s possible they might try something radical with faux’ camera mounts, extended wishbones and perhaps even the removable panel over the S-Duct.