Red Bull to build lighter chassis, undergo new crash tests – report

Sam Cooper
Sergio Perez makes a pit stop, surrounded by Red Bull Racing mechanics. Hungary July 2022

Red Bull are reportedly building a lighter chassis in order to make their RB18 car fit under the FIA weight limit.

The FIA’s technical directive which focuses on porpoising as well as the ‘flexi-floors’ will come into effect from the Belgian Grand Prix and it poses another problem to the teams.

The issue of weight has been a long-standing one since even before the season began with only Alfa Romeo initially weighing under the 798-kilogram limit, which itself only came after the teams voted against the original 795-kilogram cap.

With the change in 2022 regulations and the increased safety measures, the cars became 46kg heavier and ever since then teams have been desperate to find weight-saving measures.

 

All eyes on Spa as porpoising and flexi-floor TD arrives

As F1 gets set to return, a new technical directive could have a major impact on the first race back.

Williams stripped layers of paint off their car. as did Aston Martin, and Red Bull said it took until the Spanish Grand Prix for them to achieve the optimal weight.

But with the introduction of the new TD and its requirement, teams are again facing a weight problem as the stiffer underbody pushes many of them back over the limit.

Auto Motor and Sport reports that Mercedes is eight kilograms over the limit, Red Bull seven, Haas and McLaren three each and Alpine two while nothing is known about Ferrari and AlphaTauri.

The German publication also reports that Red Bull are taking the financial hit of not just building a lighter monocoque but also putting it through the many FIA crash tests required before it is deemed track legal.

This will be a big dent in Red Bull’s finances and while it may save them from the weight limit, it brings Christian Horner’s oft-complained cost cap back into the picture. When he predicted in June that the Championship may be decided in court, situations like this may well be what he was referring to.

According to Auto Motor und Sport another team is also building a lighter frame but Mercedes have ruled themselves out.

“That would be far too expensive. Not just because of the crash tests. You have to build three new chassis, and they cost you two million extra,” Mercedes is reported as telling the German publication.

If Red Bull can solve their weight issue, they enter the second half of the season in a very strong position. As a Constructor, they lead the Championship by 97 points having won nine of the opening 13 races while Max Verstappen boasts an 80-point lead over Charles Leclerc with his seven wins.