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Red Bull Unveils RB19 with Secret Performance Enhancements



Red Bull RB19 Enhancements

The much-anticipated 2023 Formula 1 car has been revealed, and it is Red Bull’s RB19, which is considered an evolutionary upgrade from the RB18 following the team’s successful 2022 season. Despite the noticeable visual changes on the RB19, the car’s performance is determined by non-visual modifications.

Upon comparing pictures of the late-season RB18 with the RB19’s initial specifications, we observed changes in the front wing. The front wing now has a more uniform load across its span, leading to a uniform airflow off the trailing edge, which benefits the sidepods. The first and second elements of the assembly still have a full-width slot gap, enabling better airflow to the underside of the nose surface.

Despite the slightly different angles of the pictures, it appears that the second element of the front wing has increased in chord where it integrates with the nose, as indicated by the yellow highlights. The length of each flap’s chord is determined by the flow on the undersurface, with the slot gap’s placement determined by where the flow requires a supply of high energy flow from the top surface.

The nose of the RB19 is wider and flatter at the front to support the second element, as shown by the red ellipse. This could be a lighter, structural solution for the frontal impact test, and the wider nose could offer a more stable mounting for the front wing, which is vital for weight-saving purposes.

Red Bull’s front suspension layout remains similar to last year’s design, with a pullrod-operated inboard spring medium and a similar wishbone and trackrod layout. The front leg of the lower wishbone and trackrod, as well as the rear leg, have comparable configurations, as demonstrated by the yellow and magenta highlights.

The wishbone pick-up angles also appear to have been modified by Red Bull in the RB19, with an increased top wishbone inboard pick-up angle seen on both the forward and rear legs, as indicated by the green and blue highlights. The team focused on this detail last year, and if they can manage the ride-height change during braking with this geometry, it could improve the consistency of the downforce the underfloor generates.

The radiator intake design remains mostly unchanged, with slight alterations such as a shallower and wider appearance, as shown by the light blue highlight. However, these are relatively minor changes.

From the side view, the body lines of the RB19 are relatively similar, albeit with subtle differences. The upper surface of the sidepod undercut is slightly altered, with the blue highlight pointing to the changed section. These body surfaces must contain the cooling package and side impact structures, compromising their design.


The closer shot of the sidepods highlights the modified surface of the undercut section, which could be due to the need to incorporate the cooling package or to manage the airflow in that area more effectively.

This year’s rules stipulate a 15mm increase in the height of the outer sides of the floor. To ensure efficient airflow, more of the airflow coming in through the front suspension must flow into the undercut area and pass through to the coke bottle section where the bodywork comes inward between the rear tyres.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that the RB19’s undercut is not significantly different from that of 2022, as indicated by the red highlight. While the profile has altered slightly, the volume of the undercut has not changed as much as it may appear.

The intersection of the side surface and the upper surface of the undercut, as indicated by the yellow highlight, is slightly different and more abrupt. This is likely due to packaging requirements, ensuring that the cooling package and side impact structures fit within the required body surfaces.

The RB19 is the first car to offer a glimpse into how Red Bull has addressed the regulation changes that have lifted the outer edges of the floor. Red Bull seemed to have a strong understanding of this area of the car last year, and their initial approach to tackling the 2023 change appears to be comprehensive.

The team has incorporated two small strips, as indicated by the red arrows, that pull airflow out from the front corner of the underfloor where the multiple underfloor splitters turn outwards aggressively. The green arrows indicate the flow coming in through the suspension, which will join up with this red flow to form the blue flow going through into the coke bottle.

The white ellipse highlights a small wing section that does not do much for the sealing of the sides of the floor. Its critical function is to create a slot gap between the main part of the floor’s edge and its undersurface, which acts as the floor assembly’s outer edge. When the sides of the floor come close to the ground, airflow through that slot reduces the area’s sensitivity, making the floor seal more like a dimmer switch than an on/off switch.

Red Bull RB19 Enhancements

Red Bull has closely examined the flow in this area using flow-vis paint and will compare it against its CFD predictions. Any potential minor changes will be made accordingly. The ideal flow in this area would be similar to the red arrows added to the image below, but any changes in this area will be determined over time.

The RB19’s rear suspension remains pushrod-operated, as indicated by the red highlight. The top and lower wishbone positions are very similar to the previous version, as demonstrated by the blue and magenta highlights, respectively. While it’s challenging to see the geometry in detail, there does not appear to be any significant deviation from the previous design.

Red Bull RB19 Enhancements

The most noticeable difference in this comparison is the beam wing, especially the upper flap trailing edge, as indicated by the yellow highlight. In 2022, Red Bull employed a beam wing design consisting of two separate wings, rather than the conventional two-element wing with a simple slot gap. However, in this year’s version, or at least the initial version, the beam wing features a more traditional two-element design.

Like Ferrari and Mercedes in 2022, Red Bull has opted for an evolutionary approach with its 2023 car. The car features numerous detailed changes but no significant philosophical shift.

The success of the teams in the 2022 season will largely depend on who gained the most from optimising their previous car and reliability tweaks related to the power units. Whether this will be evident after testing remains doubtful, but it won’t prevent us from making performance predictions.

Red Bull RB19 Enhancements Red Bull RB19 Enhancements Red Bull RB19 Enhancements Red Bull RB19 Enhancements