Red Bull at “a higher level” – Rinland

2011 F1 cars

Former F1 designer Sergio Rinland offered his thoughts on the Scuderia’s latest challenger, plus the new cars from Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus.

Rinland previously worked for Benetton and Arrows and is perhaps best known for his ‘twin-keel’ design on the 2001 Sauber C20.

He says the RB7 is at “a higher level” than the rival cars launched so far and believes Ferrari are now “followers” when it comes to F1 car design.

Ferrari F150

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Valencia, 2011

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Valencia, 2011

From the outside, it transpires that now has become a “follower” instead of a “leader”. This is what happens when rule mature and one car shows that way, as it has the Red Bull.

The front of the car now has a clear high nose, the Red Bull trend, allowing the use of below the nose barge boards and deflectors to improve the flow to the rear diffuser. The front wing shown so far it looks as last years, and bearing in mind that this element alone equates for a big chunk of aero performance in a modern F1 car (even more that in the past, “thanks” to the new rules of wings in front of the tyres), I would venture to say that the real F150 front wing is still cooking.

The sidepods show that the had to use some of the side channels volume for cooling due to the use of KERS.

The rear end, even if they still use push rods, looks as if Ferrari had found a different solution than the Red Bull to clean the flow to the lower rear wing, achieving a good result. From the bulges we see on the pictures, it looks as if they had located the dampers on the side of the engine cam covers to clean up the top of the gear box and hence the air flow to the rear.

The rear diffuser looks too clean and simple to be true, that is the second high performance differentiator of a modern F1 car, so again, expect more to come on this area before the first race.

For what they have said, I understand that they have opted for the KERS unit fitter in front of the engine, hence transmitting the power “through” the crank shaft of the V8 unit.

This solution has the advantage of weight distribution, by locating the KERS unit around the CG of the car, but the disadvantage of compromising the reliability of the engine itself. It will be interesting to see what Ferrari’s competitors are doing on this respect.
Sergio Rinland

Red Bull RB7

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

The Red Bull has taken all the solutions seen on the other cars to a higher level. The attention to detail is gorgeous, the head rest, the exhaust exit the rear wing adjuster, all neat and purposeful.

The nose is a development of last year?s just adapted to the new rule, with a neat treatment underneath the chassis to improve the flow downstream.

The rear end is as clean as you can get it, and so neat that looks simple, as all good solutions should look. As we said, the exhaust exit is neat, but here is probably where the Renault has had a more innovative idea.

The rear wing flap adjuster is neat and allows them to have more freedom with the end plates shape and thickness.
Sergio Rinland

Mercedes W02

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Valencia, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Valencia, 2011

As what we said for Ferrari, Mercedes had to follow on the Red Bull footsteps, down to the rear push rod suspension type.

A very clean rear end as a consequence, with a blowing exhaust, that for the look of its current shape, it has a lot of development ahead of it, if we compare it with the Red Bull or the more adventurous Renault.

The front end has a nose as high as it can be, very similar to the Red Bull, which demonstrates the convergence of solutions as a set of rules mature into its second and third year. The side pods are a development of last year, but with wider radiators, due to the cooling needs of KERS.

Interestingly, while Lotus follow last year?s Mercedes roll hoop, the later had opted for a conventional system.
Sergio Rinland


Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Valencia, 2011

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Valencia, 2011

What really got my attention was the roll hoop, very much like the Mercedes last year, very strange, I thought it was banned!

Nevertheless, I was never a big fan of splitting engine ducts; it is very tricky because when in yaw, it may have enough pressure differentials from one side to the other to create circulation.

The rear end is clean, but not as good as the Red Bull, even though it has the same engine and gearbox.

The front end is what has become “standard practice” in F1, with a nose as high as possible. The front suspension shows the push rod at the lower wishbone, hence the steep wishbones.

As far as we know, Lotus will not use KERS initially, hence it must have the advantage of smaller radiators and perhaps a lower centre of gravity, it should benefit from that in the first races until all the KERS teams get their act together.
Sergio Rinland

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56 comments on Red Bull at “a higher level” – Rinland

  1. zecks said on 3rd February 2011, 13:19

    thanks that was quite informative. is sergio going to pass judgement on the other teams? i would like to know about the really small rear of the williams and of course renault’s bonkers hot rod exhausts

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 3rd February 2011, 22:37

      That brings to mind something I had not yet thought of when it comes to Renault’s new exhausts. Routing exhaust to the front is shorter than routing it to the back, therefore the pipes will be shorter, could that in turn lead to an increase in engine power, and make up for the lack of power that the Renault engine has had against its competitors in recent seasons? Any engine experts want to tackle this one for me?

    • Miliardo Peacecraft said on 4th February 2011, 1:08

      I agree, Zecks. I would like to see his take on all of the teams.

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd February 2011, 13:20

    Good article and insight. Interesting little bit I hadn’t considered about the Lotus radiators.

  3. Todfod (@todfod) said on 3rd February 2011, 13:21

    I hope this doesn’t translate into the kind of domination we saw last year from Red Bull. Im hoping for a more level playing field

    • dyslexicbunny said on 3rd February 2011, 14:16

      Yea. If we can match the closeness of last season, it should be fantastic.

      • The car looks dominant again, but are the drivers? Last year, IMO the RBR driver mistakes are really what made the year interesting by letting Ham, Alo, and maybe But keep up and take over the points lead…Maybe Vet has matured a bit and will be more calm and dominant, but I kinda hope not.

  4. Racefan said on 3rd February 2011, 13:27

    What about Renault?

  5. If the Mercedes is following in Red Bull footsteps, wouldn’t it have a pull-rod suspension rather than push-rod?

    • Oliver said on 3rd February 2011, 14:34

      Well they had to come up with a new solution to the push-rod problem. Actually he means Ferrari isn’t the car that other teams are looking at to copy their innovation as it used to be in the recent past.

      • I’m just saying I think there is a mistake in the text. Don’t Mercedes and Red Bull both have a pull-rod suspension?

        • Oliver said on 3rd February 2011, 16:34

          Forget about the text, he is not a natural english speaker. The message is what we should focus on. It doesn’t matter if t he Mercedes has pull rod or push rods, just the fact that the teams are now repackaging their suspension and by extension, gearboxes, in order to get a neat rear end arrangement, is what he is talking about.

          I too noticed a few discrepancies in the quote(s), but I decided to focus on his summary than the individual points.

          • Oh, silly me, I thought reading the text was a good way of finding the message! I expect engineers to want to be precise in what they say.

          • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 3rd February 2011, 18:31

            Says one engineer to the other: “what are we gonna do with that … You know… erm … that (mumbles) rod thingy, you know somewhere at THE back of the car …erm … Well, just make it a tight package …”

          • Love it!

  6. Paul F said on 3rd February 2011, 13:51

    Great article – however, is the Red Bull gearbox in the Lotus an up-to-date model? I was under the impression it may have been last year’s Red Bull gearbox in the Lotus, with Red Bull having an updated unit this year…

    • Bernard said on 3rd February 2011, 14:40

      No the Lotus gearbox is from the RB5 09 car – it’s not the same as the double diffuser modified RB6 or the current RB7.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 3rd February 2011, 22:42

        Wow, Lotus must have been really keen to get rid of that xtrac gearbox if they had to replace it with the RB5’s from 09! That said, I am sure it will pay off for them. The reason Red Bull is now the team to beat is the RB5, they adapted to the 09′ rule changes better than anyone (Brawn was a one hit wonder) and now they are bearing the fruits of their labor.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 10:02

          Actually they were very keen for it, I understand. Thing is, this years GB is for use with KERS, not something you would want if your not running that.
          And last years GB was finely tuned to have as big a DDD below it as possible, really not the way to go if you want a tight and low back end.

  7. Andy C said on 3rd February 2011, 13:55

    Funnily enough, I “dared” to mention that Ferrari were followers of everyone else early last week, and I was absolutely hammered by Ferrari fans :-)

    In my experience of a lot of industries, and F1 will be no less the same, the best innovators (people wise) make innovations without the fear of failure and without the fear of reprisals.

    I would not like to be an F1 designer/engineer/strategist in Maranello for exactly that reason. Let them design, make a few mistakes, but dont fire them/send them back to the factory when they make a bad call.

    Are you listening Ferrari, probably not ;-)

    Just an opinion…

    • Yvonne said on 3rd February 2011, 14:07

      like they’re bothered

      • Andy C said on 3rd February 2011, 16:15

        I didn’t say Ferrari would be hanging on my every word did I?

        I’m not a technical director, and I wasnt claiming to be. But Mr Rinland was.

        I’m expressing an opinion which is equally as valid as yours (whether you agree with it or not).

    • I think the reason people got upset is because they took what you said as a blanket statement that Ferrari are followers in general. In reality, every team except the winning team is a follower to some degree in F1 and it’s been that way for a while. You were absolutely right to say that Ferrari have become followers in 2010 and 2011 and now you have an expert backing you up, but maybe it upset people because they thought you meant that Ferrari, with their combined 31 titles, are followers in general….

      • Andy C said on 3rd February 2011, 17:06

        You at least read what I said as it was intended.

        I have massive respect for the achievements of Ferrari over the years, with all of their titles.

        That doesnt mean they always do things right, and that doesnt mean anyone expressing a different opinion are wrong :-)

        My point was that a fear culture can stifle innovation in any industry (F1 included).

        I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the racing to begin ;-)

        • Yvonne said on 3rd February 2011, 17:26

          of course, tombazis & costa looked like they were quaking in their boots at the launch. Maranello a real horror factory, why does anyone bother working there?

        • Agreed. I also think that a team like Ferrari with all of their achievements are under more of a microscope. When Sauber copies a design from RBR people say, good thinking. When Ferrari does it, they’ve lost their way….

          The superbowl is this Sunday – Go Packers….then I sit around and wait for March 11!!

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 3rd February 2011, 22:44

      Ferrari hasn’t been truly innovative since the 09 rule changes went int effect. The last time they were innovative was in 2008, when they came up with the air scoop in the nose of the car.

  8. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 3rd February 2011, 14:00

    Sergio Rindland: the argentinean im planning to follow in my carreer!

  9. Yvonne said on 3rd February 2011, 14:06

    how exactly are Ferrari “followers?” they have gone their own way in regards to the pull/pushrod system. They are going a different way in kers packaging. what a load of bull.

    • They haven’t came up with anything really new and are following RBR’s lead most of the time it seems.

      They maybe sticking with pushrod suspension but I thought they copied that from RBR in the first place?

      • Yvonne said on 3rd February 2011, 15:38

        Ferrari have used the pushrod system for years. You can’t see anything new because its only the first test and half of the stuff is not even been put on the car. You can’t see anything underneath the skin so how do you know they haven’t got something different from red bull?

  10. vjanik said on 3rd February 2011, 14:19

    the high nose is not a red bull innovation. it existed in F1 long before red bull existed. many teams adopted it in 2009 after the rule changes (BMW had a higher nose than red Bull)

    How can he say that everyone with a high nose is following red bull? is he adrian’s secret love affair maybe?

    • LewisC said on 3rd February 2011, 14:59

      The first high nose was, I believe, the Tyrell 019 in 1990 :)

      • Oliver said on 3rd February 2011, 16:43

        That I believe is true. But they dumped it somewhat and Benetton actually made it more popular for many years. Then it fell out of fashion or well lets say the chin did drop a bit. But then it found a resurgence in other teams while, Renualt, ex Benetton went for a lower nose.
        In all honesty, I doubt RBR have had the highest nose, I feel its just the absence of various aerodynamic parts we have got used to in recent times, that makes the nose all seem so high.

        • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 3rd February 2011, 22:47

          There may be an absence of various aerodynamic parts, but go back and look at cars from earlier this decade, they look so simple in comparison to today’s cars. A funny thing happened when the aero appendages were banned, it made aerodynamicists work harder. Now instead of relying on flip ups and covers and this and that, we have the most aero sculpted bodies ever to take to the grid!

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 3rd February 2011, 16:35

      all teams copied Red Bull’s 2009 nose in 2010. So they all went that way.

      The only team trying different was Mercedes. And you now see their nose is high and flat… just like Red Bull’s.

  11. Hi all,

    We have also many comments from Joerg Zander and Craig Scarborough at the website. All the guys are going to comment on all the cars. I know that sometimes the translation from Greek is hard, but you will read the comments in English also :)

  12. Yeah, I’m kinda not quite following Mr. Rinland here. He starts of by saying Ferrari are a follower and then continues by listing all the stuff they do different. Except for the nose and the rear diffuser, which he says must be interim options and we haven’t seen the real thing yet. I agree with vjanik that he sounds a bit like he’s in love with Adrian Newey’s work.

  13. Arpi_ said on 3rd February 2011, 14:41

    Merc’s nose cone is like a Platypus’ beak. Isn’t it?

  14. BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd February 2011, 15:11

    Great tech insight, off course the scoop of being the first (and only?) to have pictures of Renaults exhaust openings was a great follow up of ScrabsF1 describing it with drawings.
    Love the work done in getting all the technical details over for the hardcore fans here.

    • Andy C said on 3rd February 2011, 16:18


      I’m interested to see the McLaren tomorrow. I saw a tweet last night (scarbs I think but it may have been someone else) saying the FFE may not be on the mclaren.

      We’ll see tomorrow.

      What is for sure is that a lot of the top teams are holding their best kit for Bahrain ;-)

  15. The only thing I disagree with is the air intake statement. Naturally aspirated engines suck air in through the air intake so performance shouldn’t be affected by yaw in the slightest.

    Only supercharged engines would be affected by this if at all. Even turbo engines suck the air in through the intake by accelerating the exhaust.

    • Oliver said on 3rd February 2011, 21:39

      But at speeds you also have Ram air induction.
      Air is a funny thing, you never know when it wants to go round in circles at the slightest opportunity.

      And you can’t accelerate an exhaust you can use an exhaust to rotate a turbine.

    • hmhmhmhm said on 4th February 2011, 8:17

      By accelerating the exhaust? :)

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