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. Fred Schechter said on 3rd February 2011, 16:37

    A good point about Ferrari’s newest kit not being on the car yet.
    I’d love to know on the strategy and planning side if this is the case, how they lay out that scheduling and account for learning new tricks from the first test and implementing them prior to the first race. Do they keep an entire engineering crew in a lull for when the first test occurs and throw them at analyzing/implementing new concepts from other teams (if so, clever) or just fit into existing workflow and back schedule to the nearest possible completion date?
    Always wonder about this side of F1.
    The pointy end of the spear sure is pointy!

  2. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 3rd February 2011, 17:52

    From his thought it seems like that Red Bull still have the best machine with Ferrari & Mercedes following will be interesting to see what is his thoughts on Renault & Mclaren when the later is launched tomorrow.

  3. It’s arduous to seek out educated folks on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  4. Mr.Zing Zang said on 4th February 2011, 2:33

    Keith get this guy back to do the williams and the mclaren!!

  5. palabras said on 4th February 2011, 4:44

    the guy looks he is having a love affair with Adrian Newey. He is saying redbull at a higher level than the rivals, but when it comes to explain why well I don’t see any kind of a real technical explanation. The only word he is using “neat” (7 times) in redbull section. what neat has to do with performance and new technological development of a car. Are we having a f1 compettion or a knitting one? I would choose in a heartbeat a ugly winning car instead of a neat car.
    Nothing educative in his comments . much more expected when you try to do technical analysis specially if you call yourself chief designer.

  6. Palle said on 4th February 2011, 9:57

    As a former F1 designer, surely You must be impressed with Newey. As a competing F1 designer with another team, surely You must be annoyed with him – a kind of Love-Hate relationship. You have to keep an eye on everything he does, and then try to do better. In the process You find yourself doing worse most of the time…
    And I love Andy C’s comment on how to suppress innovation in a fear induced work environment. However You can sometimes create a lot of anger/hate generated innovation/work, by having a big conflict over something. But generally the managers must support brave attempts to try something completely new.

  7. Darren said on 4th February 2011, 10:44

    I bet Ferrari won’t like the ‘followers’ tag! Anyways what an awesome commentary by an expert designer, really fascinating perspective on the new designs.. I agree would like to see opinions on all the cars.

  8. Its obvious that Sergio has a lot of respect for Newey – hence the gushing review for the RB7.

    Right now everything Newey does is considered innovative and brilliant and neat :)

    I am quite curious to see how teams handle KERS this year and if it will be an advantage for teams that used it in 2009

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