Mercedes, Ferrari floors ‘look prehistoric’ compared to Red Bull

Michelle Foster
Underside of upgraded Mercedes W14 following Lewis Hamilton crash. Monaco, May 2023.

Underside of upgraded Mercedes W14 visible after Lewis Hamilton crash. Monaco, May 2023.

Given a perfect view of both the Mercedes and the Red Bull floors during the Monaco GP weekend, Ted Kravitz says it’s “no wonder this Red Bull RB19 is so good” compared to its “prehistoric” rivals.

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez inadvertently gave rival teams a close up of their cars’ floors with Hamilton into the barrier at Mirabeau in final practice while Perez binned his race-winning RB19 at Ste. Devote in the opening qualifying segment.

As happens in Monaco, both cars were lifted into the air on cranes where they were left dangling as photographers – and rival teams – got the money shots.

With Formula 1 running ground effect aerodynamic cars, which means the car’s downforce is created by the floor and its vortexes, Kravitz reckons seeing the differences between the Red Bull floor and Mercedes’ makes it clear why the RB19 is the one winning races and championships. recommends

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“Thanks to Sergio Perez,” he said during his post-race Ted’s Notebook on Sky Sports, “the whole of Formula One has seen the fabled Red Bull floor.

“Go onto the internet and see for yourself, it is a thing of wonder and beauty especially when you compare it to the floor of the Mercedes and the Ferrari, which we also saw up on cranes so we got a full view of it this weekend.

“They look prehistoric.

“Even the little guide fences have got guide fences of their own on the Red Bull!

“It’s so complex in three dimensions – not only in elements coming down but then curling round and it’s got circles where the vortex start and then the vortices are generated midway through the floor. Then what they’re doing with the area under the crash structure and the gearbox as well.

“I tell you when you look at these pictures and compare them to the Mercedes and Ferrari you think ‘okay, no wonder this Red Bull RB19 is so good’.

“They’ll hate it of course. But hey blame Sergio Perez, it’s not our fault we can see the pictures of it.”

However, Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson reckons just because the teams have seen it, that doesn’t mean they can copy it.

“It’s so complex that on a 2D photo, because of the way the light is, it’s so curved, you can’t figure any of it out,” he said.

“I guess it’s just coincidental they do it all like that because that’s how they get the downforce. But it doesn’t half make it difficult to copy!”

Aston Martin’s performance director Tom McCullough admitted he was particularly interested in seeing the wear on the plank on the RB19’s floor as that would tell him a lot about the car.

“Obviously, there are some great photos!” he told Autosport. “A lot of people were there so I’m sure the aerodynamicists will be having a good look at all the cars that were lifted up.

“Thankfully, ours hasn’t been lifted up yet. Let’s try and keep it that way! The aerodynamicists never want you to show that. You learn a lot from just even how the plank is wearing. You learn from what’s touching.

“There’s a lot of very excited aerodynamicists up and down the pit lane looking at all of that.”