RB attract attention with rear wing configuration for Saudi Arabian GP

Uros Radovanovic
Yuki Tsunoda from behind, sparks flying

Yuki Tsunoda from behind, sparks flying

Considering the layout, Jeddah is one of the most unique races on the calendar and requires careful preparation from the teams.

Let’s take a look at the specifications the teams have brought to Saudi Arabia and what performances we can expect from them based on the results of the first two practices.

Jeddah – The Queen of Speed

Despite being a street and narrow track, Jeddah is the type of circuit where drivers keep the pedal to the metal for about 80% of the race.

This indicates how fast the race actually is and how much of an impact aerodynamic drag will have. It’s worth noting that, due to the speed and narrow walls, Jeddah will penalise any millimetre of driver error, leaving the drivers with no room for indifference.

Teams are bringing aerodynamic packages aiming for minimal drag and, consequently, less downforce – not a significant issue considering the straight sections and slow corners.

It’s important to note that the asphalt in Saudi Arabia has low abrasion, meaning lap times will decrease as the race progresses.

Key elements will be traction, especially crucial in the numerous fast corners, and braking. In theory, this layout should favour Ferrari, given their proficiency in these two mentioned characteristics.

Last year, the Red Bull team absolutely dominated the track, and the same is expected this weekend – a fact we have long become accustomed to.

Teams’ Aerodynamic Packages

As expected, teams have prepared low downforce packages to ensure higher top speeds.

From the above image, it can be seen that Mercedes, compared to other teams, opted for the most extreme characteristic of the rear wing, focusing on minimal drag. The lower part of the rear wing is almost flat, with no distinctive spoon-shaped form.

On the other hand, Red Bull and Ferrari have a slightly more aggressive upper lip on the rear wing, providing them with more stability in fast corners but sacrificing some top speed. This approach will give them an advantage in the three DRS zones on the Jeddah track.

Another interesting detail is Aston Martin’s rear wing, which is probably the most loaded on the entire grid.

Although the team had a great result on this track last year, it became evident during the season that they perform better in slower corners.

This approach will undoubtedly give Aston Martin an advantage in slower corners and during braking, confirmed during the first practice. However, the downside may be lower top speeds – we’ll see how the entire configuration affects their lap times.

Apart from Aston Martin, RB team has attracted attention with an interesting design of the rear wing. The lower lip is almost flat, while the upper lip is smaller than usual and simultaneously at a minimal angle. It seems like Red Bull’s sister team is banking on gaining an advantage on straights and fast corners.

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Some Interesting Results from FP1 and FP2

The graph above shows the difference in maximum speeds achieved during the first free practice. It was expected that Red Bull and RB would be at the top, while teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren would be in the middle.

The mentioned design of Aston Martin’s rear wing places them at the bottom in this measurement, with a significant difference from the top.

However, the results from the second practice show that Aston Martin is the fastest in the first and third sectors, which differ significantly in speeds.

Although this delighted all Aston Martin fans, it should be kept in mind that the situation may not be as rosy, and they likely used a more aggressive power unit mode or simply had less fuel, resulting in better times.

Which of these configurations is the best remains to be seen on Saturday.

Besides Red Bull, we expect strong performances from Mercedes and Ferrari. It will be fascinating to see how the new rear wing affects Aston Martin’s lap times and whether they can make a significant difference in slow corners. One must always keep in mind the track itself, which doesn’t forgive drivers’ mistakes.

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