Red Bull’s Japanese Grand Prix upgrades revealed amidst intense zero-pod speculation

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Red Bull's upgrades for the Japanese Grand Prix have been revealed by the FIA.

It may not be the extreme zero-pods that were predicted, but Red Bull has brought new sidepod inlets for the RB20 to the Suzuka circuit that include changes in the cooling and in the inlet of the sidepod’s scoop.

Putting a radical RB20 on the track as they moved away from last year’s design philosophy and adopted parts from the previous years’ Mercedes ground-effect aerodynamic cars, it was reported that Red Bull could go full zero-pod.

Red Bull have new sidepod… inlets

Japan, cooler than the first three races on the calendar, was touted as the first race for the new design.

But while Red Bull has not gone down that path, the RB20 is sporting new sidepod inlets. Redistributing the inlet areas for the sidepod-mounted primary heat exchangers, Red Bull has, according to the FIA notes, sought “the most efficient locations in terms of pressure inlet for the area” with the intent of needing “less exit area which is beneficial downstream.”

The team, leading the championships by four points, has also brought a new floor, floor edges, and front cover to the race.

Red Bull RB20 upgrades for Suzuka
Red Bull’s RB20 features new sidepod inlets and other upgrades for Suzuka.

Ferrari, the team sitting second after Carlos Sainz’s Australian Grand Prix, has a new rear wing and rear suspension. The latter, billed by Sainz as a small change during Thursday’s press conference, is designed to increase the car’s efficiency.

Ferrari SF-24 upgrades for Suzuka
Ferrari’s upgrades for the SF-24 at Suzuka have been revealed.

As for McLaren, they have introduced a low-cooling front brake duct while Aston Martin has a floor and floor edge upgrade to go with their modified diffuser that features a revised top surface. “The changes to the shape modify the expansion in the diffuser to improve flow characteristics and the load generated on the surface,” read the FIA report.

Mercedes, like Haas, did not bring any upgrades to the track despite the latter’s team boss’s recent letter to fans in which he stated they’d be upgrading the car earlier this initially planned. recommends

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“We were going to bring our first upgrade slightly later in the season, but our aerodynamics team has been doing some solid work,” he said. “So instead, we’re going to be bringing updates earlier, which is a change for the team,” said Ayao Komatso.

Japan, though, is still too early with the new upgrade set to arrive at the next race in China, having been originally lined up for the first European race at Imola in May.

Alpine has upgraded the front wing, front corner, and beam wing as the team chases their first points of the championship while Williams also has a new beam wing and rear wing.

Both RB and Stake have new floors and floor edges.

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