Red Bull does not need a double tie rod to stiffen the floor of the RB18: the team from Milton Keynes, in fact, has focused on two titanium reinforcements that block not only the oscillations of the sides, but in general strengthen the entire structure, given that the most advanced bracket is used to “embrace” the Venturi channels as well, guaranteeing greater rigidity to the most crucial part of the car.
Looking at Giorgio Piola’s images for Motorsport Italy, it becomes quite clear why Adrian Newey’s car is less sensitive to porpoising and to variations in ground height in general.
The RB18 can increasingly afford to graze the asphalt with the “skates” that are located under the floor near the elbow where the central diffuser begins to rise. The two “beams”, however, cost weight: the RB18s have been exploring weight-saving options since the start of the championship and we would not be surprised to see these metal elements turn into composite arms later on: they were tried on but not used in the race weekend.
The key to the development of Red Bull, therefore, was concentrated in particular in these two elements: stiffness of the floor and weight, in a contrast that sometimes hangs on one side and sometimes on the other.
Each team has studied and sought its solutions: it must be recognized that Ferrari on the F1-75 immediately benefited (like Mercedes) from the tie rod that the FIA already granted from the tests in Bahrain, but the Maranello team had well thought of use the lower anti-intrusion cone to fix the floor in the most advanced part.
That solution, in fact, allowed the Maranello team to save weight, using a mandatory safety element also with a second load-bearing function, while in Milton Keynes they worked on the search for maximum stiffness.
Mercedes suffered the most: Brackley’s team were the only ones, along with Williams, to start the season with a car equipped with mini-sidepods.
The Grove team tried to partually fix this from Silverstone with the introduction of the new FW44, while the silver arrow to be able to block the flexing of the floor in Great Britain adopted a conspicuous metal reinforcement on the curb step, whereas in Canada the second tie had been fixed, declared illegal and immediately removed after the first free practice session in Montreal.
The flor of the W13 seen at Spielberg also reveals two reinforcements (circled in white) that have been adopted inside the “tub” to continue the development of a design that begins to give its results, having limited porpoising, still leaving that due to bottoming.
It is interesting to note how the same problem has been faced and more or less solved with three very different concepts, demonstrating the interpretative ability of the rules that the three top teams have used to solve a problem, porpoising, which in the wind tunnel and in the design phase of the ground effect cars had not been taken into consideration.