Mercedes' downforce versus Red Bull

This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Kingshark 3 years, 5 months ago.

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    A lot has been made about the fact that although Red Bull are relatively weak with their PU, Newey has yet again nailed the RB10 chassis. Most commentators believe the RB10 is again the class of the field when it comes to sheer downforce, hence their strong qualifying performances in the wet. Therefore, a lot of commentators expect the RB10 to be a lot stronger around tracks like Spain and Monaco, but i’ve come up with a theory. Just like Red Bull has been doing in previous seasons around tracks like Monza, and Spa, couldn’t Mercedes simply shift their compromise of downforce V straight line speed and still maintain their big advantage around tracks like Monaco. Basically Mercedes who’s straight line speed advantage over Red Bull (which was around 22kph on the straight at Shanghai), could just sacrifice a bit of straight line speed and negate the small (if any) downforce advantage the RB10 chassis may carry around tracks like Moncao and Spain??


    Iestyn Davies

    RB took off about 10 kph to strap on more downforce and win back time in the corners in China (giving the time back up and more on the long straights), so Mercedes can indeed don more and lose 5kph to stay ahead. It looks like the Mercedes engine had a 5kph+ advantage on the long straight, with Ferrari and Renault equal behind.


    Sri Harsha

    Its not that easy to say, Adding wing levels or decreasing wing levels is one of the toughest jobs and the cars shouldn’t loose their aero balance more by doing so, Obviously merc has current advantage but with out right amount of power even high aero levels also couldn’t show its advantage which is what the major difference between RBR and Merc.
    So i dont think RBR can challenge merc right now in Spain where you also need BHP as equal as high aero but in monaco probably RBR will challenge Merc for Pole and win on their own. But if Renault really unlocks the BHP of its engine by Spain i dont see Merc running away from RBR at all.




    Most commentators believe the RB10 is again the class of the field when it comes to sheer downforce, hence their strong qualifying performances in the wet.

    Wet performance is much more dependent on mechanical grip than it is on downforce. Take 2007 for instance, Ferrari had the most downforce, McLaren had the best mech grip, and as a result were the best in the rain. Good mechanical grip also reduces wheelspin, which is crucial in the wet.

    Nonetheless, I’m not convinced that Red Bull have any more downforce than Mercedes. Take the middle sector in Bahrain for example, that sector is a swamp of corners, over 40 seconds in length. Rosberg was 0.369 seconds faster than Ricciardo through there, despite RBR usually preferring more cornering speed and less top speed setups opposed to Mercedes – and I highly doubt that Dan lost almost 4 tenths to Nico on that short DRS straight alone.



    The merc is absolutely no slouch when it comes to downforce. But their big thing is their balance advantage through the better packaging of the engine, again important in the wet. Red Bull probably do have more overall downforce, but the Merc and Ferrari aren’t so far behind. You can usually tell by how much front downforce they are looking for as to how much overall downforce they have because front downforce is almost always to balance out the downforce they have at the rear


    Sri Harsha

    Your comparison about Bahrain is a bit wrong as RBR took off lot of pieces in the car to make car a bit less draggier to compensate the lack of top speed thanks to Inferior Renault engine. Also Bahrain is a power dominated circuit than aero circuit
    I believe When Renault get their engine performance to max RBR will use their Max DF, if then RBR get Trounced by Mercedes interms of DF then we can say RBR didn’t have enough DF levels , But i suspect its not the way as right now the only teams who are comparable with Merc in DF sectors is Ferrari and Redbull who have inferior engine to Mercedes and lapping a tenth or two slower per sector.
    So currently we have few questions
    1. How Much DF RBR still have but wasn’t using it due to Lack of engine power
    2. How much DF Merc still have but wasn’t using it to make fuel consumption a bit better
    3. How much gap will be between RBR and Merc when both operating at max Potentials
    4. Where do Ferrari the 3rd best team in Aero stands now.
    5. If any How much engine Potential is Holding for Ferrari in DF usage as Renault and RBR had




    I believe When Renault get their engine performance to max RBR will use their Max DF

    Renault have been running their engines at 100% for the past few races, RBR are still nowhere near Merc.


    Sri Harsha

    @kingshark no mate, It wasn’t the case they are still not running their Engine at Max potential the Speed Difference, MGU-H/K is not working to their max potential and some other things , Im sure if they are running at 100% you will see races at front much closer



    1.053 seconds between Mercedes and Red Bull around Barcelona of all the places, the mother of all downforce tracks.

    Does anyone here seriously believe anymore that the difference between RBR and Merc is only engine power? More and more evidence points towards the fact that the WO5 is a better chassis than the RB10.

    Red Bull couldn’t even tough Mercedes in the 3rd sector, which has no straights whatsoever, and is virtually corner after corner.

    Mercedes is #1 in both the engine and downforce department.



    If it was just engine power… all the Merc cars would be in front. It’s clearly everything.

    Well balanced, plenty of downforce and of course a perfect PU.

    Vettel say he is struggling with balnce mostly, so maybe that is one of Red Bulls shortfalls.



    Mercedes have both the best chassis AND the best engine. The WO5 out-qualified the RB10 in Spain by over 1 whole second. You can’t lose a whole second around Barcelona through power deficit alone, you just can’t.

    In 2003 Renault had a car with great handling and downforce, yet the Renault engine was rumored to be 60 hp down on power when compared to Ferrari and BMW. In Hungary, which is a full downforce track with very little straight, Alonso dominated. In Spain, which is slightly more power-oriented than Hungaroring, Alonso ran Schumi close. Why? Because around circuits like Hungaroring and Catalunya Renault weren’t hurt much, if anything at all by their top speed deficit to Ferrari and BMW Williams.

    In Spain 03, despite Renault’s engine power deficit to Ferrari, Alonso qualified only 0.471 sec behind Schumacher and finished 5.7 seconds behind. Comparatively, Ricciardo qualified 1.053 seconds behind Hamilton and finished 49 seconds behind.

    In 2003 you could have made an argument that Renault had a better chassis than Ferrari and only lost out due engine power inferiority. But anyone who claims that Ricciardo finished almost 50 seconds behind Hamilton around Barcelona because of power deficit alone is kidding themselves.

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