Nico Rosberg and Christian Horner clash over secret to Red Bull’s success

Michelle Foster
Red Bull and Max Verstappen celebrate his 2023 Drivers' title, the third of his career..

Red Bull and Max Verstappen celebrate his 2023 Drivers' title.

Nico Rosberg has gone back-and-forth with Christian Horner over the secret to Red Bull’s success with the German insisting it is “absolutely” because of the floor.

Formula 1’s switch to ground-effect aerodynamic cars has meant the floor of the cars have never been as important as they are on today’s grid.

And the floor it has been said is the one aspect Red Bull, under technical guru Adrian Newey’s guidance, have nailed.

Is the RB19’s floor the key to Red Bull’s success?

Winning all but six races since the beginning of the ground-effect era in 2022, and claiming back-to-back championship doubles, the grid has begun to converge towards the Red Bull design philosophy when it comes to the downwash sidepods.

But what rivals cannot copy as easily is the RB19’s floor, despite it being revealed to prying eyes several times this season.

The latest of those came in Saturday’s Sprint race in Qatar where Sergio Perez was caught up in a multi-car crash that ended with him stranded in the gravel.

His car was, not for the first time this season, removed by crane with rivals getting a view of Red Bull’s most recent floor developments.

Rosberg asked Horner if that annoyed him given that is the key to Red Bull’s success, or so he believes.

“Christian, I know that other teams got pictures of underneath from Sergio’s car, like great detail on the new floor there. Does that annoy you something like that?” the 2016 World Champion asked on Sky F1.

Horner replied: “Oh, we’ve got pictures of all their cars as well.”

Rosberg: “But they’re not as fast as your car!”

Horner: “But is it from the floor?”

Rosberg: “Absolutely, I know it because I saw it.”

Horner: “If you say so.”

To which Craig Slater stepped in to end that debate.

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Red Bull insist it’s the entire package

Although a large focus has been on Red Bull’s floor, technical director Pierre Wache insists it is the entire package that makes for a good car.

So much so he reckons the RB19 is “average” in all departments, but when they’re combined that’s where the success lies.

Wache told Motorsport.com: “It is average good for everything, which is creating a good car. “It’s not very good in one aspect.

“Why we think it is good because we are quicker than others, but fundamentally I would say we didn’t do a fantastic job.”

He added: “I think everybody understands more or less the influence of the mechanical grip starts to be higher than in the past, and the stiffness has a big role in that.

“Then the link between the aero characteristic and how you have to run the car is bigger even than before. Plus, the regulations removed some dampers [inerters] that were very useful, and would be even more useful with this type of car, but we don’t have anymore.

“I think it is how we developed the car that gave us a better compromise. But it’s not because we better understand.”

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