Red Bull was quick to take steps forward, and since the summer break it has continued to develop its car, earning it a point more race pace as its RB18 appears to enjoy better tire management.
Much of the attention for performance change has been focused on aerodynamics , as this is an area where every team makes changes throughout the year.
However, there are other aspects of car design and set-up that can play just as important a role in overall performance, and that is why Ferrari’s headaches with Pirelli compounds cannot just be a matter of aerodynamics.
It seems that the tires on the F1-75 are more prone to wearing out than the Red Bull from overheating , and that’s perfect in qualifying as it helps to put the wheels in the correct operating temperature window, and the proof is the various pole positions of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
However, during the heat cycle that the tires are subjected to during a race stint, the Prancing Horse ‘s temperatures can rise faster than its main rival, counteracting the strategic advantage it previously provided. Knowing how different Pirelli behaviors are in Ferrari and Red Bull cars, it’s interesting to note that the two teams are on opposite sides when it comes to managing brake heat . This is especially seen when the tire is related to the temperature of the tires.
That was a component that the teams spent a considerable amount of their resources on in the previous technical regulations, but the introduction of the new 2022 regulations meant that that whole area of the car was changed, they reset research and development back to zero. .
The arrival of the 18-inch wheel specification has led to numerous dimensional changes, with the front discs now required to be between 325 and 330mm , rather than 278mm. Also, the holes through the disc must be a minimum of 3mm, which alters not only the way heat is transferred, but also the behavior of the airflow.
Add to that the requirement to expel the flow past the brake assembly only through a single rear-facing outlet, whereas previously teams forced it through the wheel for increased aerodynamic effect. .
Ferrari F1-75 front brakes
In response to those changes, we’ve seen Red Bull, McLaren, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri adopt an internal brake disc fairing, and Mercedes and Williams apply a similar solution as well. Meanwhile, Ferrari, Alpine, Aston Martin and Haas are the four that have left the disc exposed inside the brake drum, now much larger as its size has increased to fit into the wheel well.
McLaren’s early attempts to use the fairing were not without problems, and although the MCL36 looked quite competitive during early pre-season testing in Barcelona, in Bahrain they realized changes had to be made due to excessive overheating.
McLaren MCL36 front brakes
That saw the original carbon fiber concept scrapped in favor of a metallic version while it underwent a complete redesign. The new version, which arrived at the Spanish Grand Prix [on the right], resulted in a much larger fairing and forced redirection of the ducts feeding cold air to the caliper.
Although the other teams using the fairing solution did not have the same problems as McLaren, they have also spent the whole season optimizing their designs to improve performance. Taking Red Bull as an example, it’s easy to see how smaller changes have led to a big leap in performance, as the exposed insulating piece originally used [below left] was removed when the team redesigned the shape of the fairing.
That part then received numerous modifications to help control heat transfer between the brakes, rim, and tires [bottom right, red arrow].
Red Bull RB18 front brakes
In an effort to help manage that heat transfer , the team has also applied a thermal coating to the fairing [boxes below]. Given that Ferrari has already said that it will not carry any major updates in the final rounds of the year, we cannot expect the F1-75 to copy its rival, but that is not to say that the Maranello-based team has not paid attention to Red Bull for be able to incorporate some similar ideas next season.
Red Bull RB18 front brake comparison
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