Chassis : RB9
Engine : Renault RS27 – 2013
RB9 is a refined version of the previous RB8 (2012 car) , with a “dwarf” vanity panel to cover the stepped nose, a more rigid front wing to meet the stricter FIA regulations regarding flexibility , retained ramp-exit exhausts, tunnelled sidepods and with a passive drag reduction system ,separated from DRS to cut further drag favouring top speed.
The S duct feature which is pioneered by Sauber in 2012 is present on RB9 . It helps to smoothen the negative effects of the boundary layer under the nose . The boundary layer is a slowed stream of air flowing close to a surface due to friction . The small vanity panel on the stepped nose section , alongside with the introduction of the S duct forced Red Bull to abandon the nose letterbox design which aided cooling .
Winter testing updates :
At Barcelona test on February Red Bull tried a low downforce set up rejecting at the same time the beam winglet, also placed extended heat shields on the engine cover around the exhaust zone and featured minor diffuser revisions . A new front wing, revised larger vanity panel and rear wing endplates with horizontal gills instead of curves made debut at second Barcelona test . It was also interesting to see Red Bull to reject the new diffuser and revert back to the old spec .
Aerodynamic performance : very efficient as all Adrian Newey’s creations, provides good aero balance and enough grip .
Speed : very fast at both low and heavy fuel loads but shows very low top speed at straights . The ban of DRS free use at will during qualifying could potentially transform the low top speed issue into a real handicap for the team .
Tyres management : average for all three compounds, soft, medium and hard .
Reliability : pretty good
ramp-exit exhausts, FIA refused permission to Renault to change engine mapping in 2013 that would potentially enhance the positive effect of the ramp exhausts
Red Bull’s front wing origins from late 2011 season and features a distinctive wavy profile of the flaps close to the central neutral section (pointed in red arrows) , which help to accelerate the air flowing under the wing . However that wing was very efficient for RB7 but proved to be problematic when applied on the new RB8 . The reason can be searched to the fact that the new RB8 has less rake than RB7 which means that on RB8 the front wing stands higher from the ground level, so inevitably it is less efficient . The less rake for RB8 came as a direct effect of the ban of the exhaust blown diffuser which sealed partially the diffuser chambers and thus allowing Red Bull to have increased rake angle to the rear , something not possible to sustain for 2012 . In an attempt to improve front end stability Red Bull, before Melbourne, decided to ditch the wavy inner flaps profile and revert to the old fashioned straight profile which provides lower pitch sensitivity .
rake is the angle difference between the rear and front end of the car, so when the rear of the car is higher, the front of the car is going to be lower to the ground
Two races ahead of Germany and Red Bull had one more new diffuser in Belgium . The new structure had a revised rear deformable structure with a full length winglet under the light to optimize the aero performance both above and below it . The inner vertical fences had regained their former height while the rear brake winglets were reshaped once again .
The new diffuser was tested first during free practice sessions on Friday with the aid of fluorescent paint to reveal flow details .
Red Bull brought another mixed front wing design in Sepang which featured revised endplates (B type in illustration above, similar to the ones used during early Winter testing ,Launch type endplates) fitted on the wing updated edition tested in Barcelona on March. The type B endplates had an extra large slot and were mounted on the flaps and not on endplates horizontal section like type A (differences in yellow) , reducing the overall width of the wing .
The type B endplates were abandoned after being tested and team used a front wing having the already raced in Australia type A endplates .