The team at RB Prestige are avid followers of both Formula 1 and the British Touring Car Championship, mainly following the Mercedes brand, as we are lucky to have both a personally signed Petronas AMG shirt from Lewis Hamilton himself and the front wing of Tom Oliphant’s mental A-Class! But apart from being avid fans and taking a step away from the business for just a second, Kyran, our resident Automotive Engineer, is going to look at the proposed upcoming new changes to the vehicles this season and what impact he predicts these could have.
Let’s start with the F1:
Front Wing – The front wings have been designed to be simpler, containing only 5 non-overlapping elements with simplified endplates. This means less complex airflow over the rest of the vehicle, reducing the turbulent air for those that are following. Basically, vehicles can get closer to the leading vehicle without losing any handling. (Rob’s take: closer following, more overtaking, more falling off the track)
Barge Boards – The barge boards have been made wider, shorter and simpler. While this has the same effect on aerodynamics as the front wing, it is believed the main reason for this change is for marketing; sponsors can advertise on the front of the vehicle where previously they would have been obstructed by wing elements. (Rob’s take: can we sponsor the bottom of Verstappen’s car?)
Rear wing – this has been made bigger in all dimensions. The endplates have also been made simpler which is believed to be, once again, for the purpose of marketing. The angle of attack for the wing has been made greater, increasing downforce while also causing the turbulent airflow to rise high above the following vehicle. This hopefully means more overtaking which is better for us! The DRS or Drag Reduction System has also been adjusted, with an increased 20mm of opening window, reducing the drag of the vehicle further. The result, increased speed and more overtakes which equals to more exciting races! (Rob’s take: see my first point…action!)
This all being said, with our extensive contacts in F1, including those in Mercedes, Renault and Racing Point, we are already aware (without being told too much!) that some manufacturers are known to have already overcome the downforce disadvantage from the front wing by looking at other aspects of the vehicle. This is partly because the front wings are designed not to just produce downforce but to condition the airflow around the rest of the vehicle. (Rob’s take: how long before they are all wearing those pointy helmets that cyclists wear?)
With any change in F1, the results are usually vast! I think while the larger downforce and increased drag will result in closer racing (Rob’s take: crashes) and more battles on the track (Rob’s take: more crashes), I do believe the top teams will still have the same dominance over the chasing pack. Teams that have two drivers jockeying for position, corner after corner could result in a large advantage being shown to the second car with DRS and reduced turbulence, resulting in largely uncontested overtakes. (Rob’s take: unless you are Vettel)
Changes to the BTCC vehicles are much less extensive. The amount of ‘success ballast’, where a vehicle has extra weight added after victory, has been reduced. In BTCC, each vehicle performance is very closely matched, meaning the current ballast made a vast difference to the way the vehicle handled and performed, usually meaning the vehicle carrying the most ballast would have little to no chance of competing in the following race! British Touring Car racing is much closer than F1, having shorter races in vehicles that can take contact. (Rob’s take: yes!) Subsequently, the changes don’t have to be so huge! Nevertheless, the planned changes in both F1 and BTCC coming in 2021 are extremely exciting.
With all this in mind and considering the recent release of the teams’ new, funky looking liveries, we have asked one of our honorary RB Team members, and awesome graphic designer (Insta: @tanagrah) to produce what he thinks our very own team car would look like if we were to enter a team into either BTCC or F1! Throughout this month we have a poll running on our Facebook page to find out which vehicle and design YOU think is best! Who knows… could there be an RB Prestige Racing team in the future? (Rob’s take: I still have dreams you know).
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