Haas’ ‘white Red Bull’ goes under the microscope at US Grand Prix

Uros Radovanovic
Haas' once-off United States Grand Prix livery.

Haas have an unveiled a new-look livery for the US race.

The fastest circus in the world is moving to the North American continent with the United States GP next on our agenda.

This will also be a home race for F1’s only American team, Haas, which has prepared for Texas with significant upgrades.

A lot of attention will be focused on Haas this weekend, so let’s take a look at the changes they’ve made and how they’ll impact the car’s performance.

Say hello to the white Red Bull… sort of

It has been a long time coming, but it’s finally time to see Haas’ long-anticipated B version of the car, aligning with the philosophy of this year’s fastest team, Red Bull.

The most significant changes include redesigned sidepods, sidepod inlets, engine covers, and the underbody of the car.

As you can see, the geometry of the sidepods is completely different. They’ve introduced a “downwash” look, which has proven to be the best choice for the new generation of F1 cars. This design allows Haas to more efficiently direct airflow towards the rear of the car, feeding clean, high-energy air to the beam wing and diffuser.

Apart from enhancing the diffuser’s performance, this change will also improve the car’s underbody and the rear wing’s operation.

However, it’s important to note that Haas hasn’t simply copied the design; they’ve introduced a new philosophy to their car. In today’s Formula 1 and with the level of technology involved, it’s almost impossible to simply copy a component effectively.

Haas has retained their waterslides on the sidepods, which further aid in directing clean air towards the rear of the car. This design is also highly efficient in corners, especially in fast ones, where rear downforce is crucial.

Moreover, Red Bull’s cars do not feature these “waterslides,” so it’s interesting to see the combination of different concepts that have proven effective.

New Floor and Sidepod Inlets

The sidepod inlets are another design inspired by Red Bull. The elongated look follows the new sidepod shape while allowing for maximum width.

The width of the sidepods is crucial because it influences where the dirty air behind the front tyres will flow. Wider sidepods create a greater “pushing away” effect on the dirty air, benefiting the rear aero components. However, wider sidepods also introduce more drag, which is a trade-off that must be managed.

We can recall Mercedes from the previous season, which used minimal sidepods to reduce drag and increase top speed. However, they encountered issues with dirty air affecting their car more than anticipated.

Haas has also changed the design and position of cooling inlets, making them smaller and lower. These inlets had to adapt to other changes and minimise their negative impact on the car’s aerodynamics.

What’s missing, and what we expected to see, is a deeper undercut beneath the sidepods. This is something Red Bull has been pushing and working on since the beginning of the 2022 season. It seems that Haas couldn’t fully utilise the potential of this area due to the side impact structure, which is there to protect the driver in this particular type of collision.

The main upgrades of Haas aren’t visible to the naked eye.

The new underbody of the car will surely have the most significant impact on performance, so we’ll have to wait until the weekend to see how the American team has progressed technically. If the changes prove to be positive, and most importantly, if they work together as intended, it will be interesting to see Haas back in the fight for points, which they desperately need.

What to expect from Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, and Ferrari?

COTA is a very demanding track in terms of tyre management. This could negatively affect Red Bull, especially during qualifying.

We’ve already seen this season that Red Bull sometimes requires more time to heat up their tyre and start a fast lap during qualifying. The main reason for this is their unusual front suspension setup, which results in slower tyre warming. In Monaco, for example, both Max and Perez needed two warm-up laps before going for a quick lap.

So, this detail is definitely worth paying attention to. Of course, this problem won’t affect race pace, as once the front tyres are warm, their car is incredibly efficient.

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