Red Bull unveils RB16B
Red Bull has revealed images on Tuesday morning of its 2021 car the RB16B online. The Austrian team is the fourth team to unveil its car which it says is an evolution of last years car, it will also be the final to be powered by Honda.
Team principal Christian Horner said at the end of last year that the team would be carrying over sixty per cent of the car. However, the team are hoping that they have learned the lessons of last year, both Max Verstappen and Alex Albon struggled with balance at times.
The team is hoping that the final year with Honda as well as improvements to its chassis will help it be more consistent across different types of tracks. They hope this allows them to consistently challenge Mercedes with the improvements they have made to the chassis with Honda new power unit.
Speaking about the difficulties last year Horner said, “I wouldn’t say the [problems] were exclusive to aero. These things always work in tandem. But I think that we made good progress through 2020.
“We’ll see whether RB16B has its challenges from the regulation changes, but that’s obviously the same for all teams. Hopefully, with a lot of good lessons that we learned last year, we’ll manage to apply those into the updated car.”
Red Bull is hoping that its new line up of Verstappen alongside Sergio Perez allows it to disrupt Mercedes and prevent the German car manufacturer from taking an eighth consecutive F1 title double.
Honda’s final season in F1 this year will be followed by Red Bull taking over the engine project itself and running the power units from 2022 under its own name.
Red Bull corrects correlation issues
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team has addressed the correlation problem they had last year between on-track performance and its wind tunnel.
This mooring the team launched the RB16B which it hopes will tackle the aerodynamic anomalies which hinder them last year. Red Bull’s difficulties became clear during testing when both drivers suffered several spins, then the pattern continued when the delayed season got underway in Austria.
The team initially attributed the spins to its drivers finding the limit, before accepting that it had something wrong aerodynamically after the opening rounds of the season, when the scale of its gap to the Mercedes became clear.
To try and resolve this issue, the team brought regular updates which allowed it to close the gap, Red Bull hopes the B-spec car allows those problems to be addressed. Horner told Motorsport.com “We’ve worked very hard to understand why we struggled for correlation at the beginning of last year
“When it [the season] eventually got going, compared with what our simulation tools were telling us – both wind tunnel and other tools [something was amiss]. So, we learned a lot during 2020. And, of course, the challenge now is to apply that in 2021.”
Red Bull will not know until testing begins whether it has managed to correct the correlation issues, but it believes last year it gained a lot of understanding of these issues.
At the end of last year Verstappen was frustrated that the team was “just depend a bit more on track running” with new parts and that “we have to find a way of making sure that what comes out of the wind tunnel works straight away on the car, and it’s immediate, and puts us in the right direction”.
Horner believes the team has a “high hit rate” when it comes to upgrades. Teams no longer have the ability for unlimited testing meaning digital technology has become very important when it comes to developing the car.
Perez makes first outing for Red Bull
Sergio Perez has made his first outing for Red Bull at Silverstone during a private test in the teams 2019 RB15. The Mexican had a full day running as the team opted to use a car that isn’t restricted by the 100km rule which applies to cars less than two years old.
The test will provide Perez with some valuable time on track given that pre-season testing in Bahrain has been cut back to just three days. He has not driven a non-Mercedes powered car since joining McLaren in 2013.
It marks Perez’s first time on-track since his last appearance for Racing Point in Abu Dhabi. Perez’s win in Sakhir will help him with both pre-season testing and the opening race being at the same circuit.
Perez will return to action on Wednesday when he and Verstappen will get to test the RB16B, for the first time at Silverstone following its launch today.
Intense midfield battle in 2021 – Brown
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is expecting the intense midfield battle to continue in 2021, with Aston Martin benefiting from the arrival of a “highly motivated” Sebastian Vettel, while Ferrari will also improve.
Last year the British team won the incredibly tight five-way battle for third in the constructors. McLaren beat what is now the Aston Martin team by fourteen points, with Alpine, previously Renault, fifth and Ferrari and Alpha Tauri slightly further behind.
Aston Martin closest challengers last season was McLaren, it is widely expected that the arrival of four-times champion Vettel will be another boost for the team. This has led Brown to predict a “very tough fight” with the Silverstone based team.
Brown told Sky Sports, “That whole grouping we were fighting with last year we’re going to pick up right where we left off in Abu Dhabi. Sebastian Vettel is a four-time champion so while he didn’t have a great year last year, I think he’ll be on his A-game and highly motivated.”
Last year McLaren returned to the top three for the first time in eight years, while their historic main rivals Ferrari slumped to sixth in their worst seasons in four decades.
sked if they were favourite to outperform the Scuderia in 2021, Brown replied: “We’ve got to focus on ourselves. We’re not just trying to beat Ferrari, we are trying to beat nine other teams. We had a great year last year, they struggled.
“I would be very surprised if they finished sixth again this year, I think that was probably a bit of a one-off. It’s a great team, they’ve got two very strong drivers so I think it’s going to be a very compressed field this year.”