Artificial intelligence is not only a hot topic in Hollywood at the moment but it’s also one that Red Bull are “investigating” as they chase performance for their Adrian Newey-designed F1 cars.
That’s according to the team’s chief designer Craig Skinner.
Although AI-powered models and simulations have been used for years to train drivers, allowing them to learn the race tracks and develop their skills, it’s now also moving into the design departments.
‘Everything was always about adding performance’
“It’s a field that is being investigated,” Skinner told the Talking Bulls podcast when asked about AI. “And it has its uses I think.”
But in order to begin using AI, the teams already need the know-how regarding what makes a car fast to be in-house amongst their personnel.
“With AI you’ve got to teach it,” he added, “you need to teach it what it’s looking for, so ultimately it comes back to again having the understanding in the first place of what you’re actually looking for.
“What is it that makes a fast racing car? What do you want out of the aero? What do you want to have in vehicle dynamics?
“So yes, we do use it and we are investigating it. But ultimately, it all comes down to how much you understand the problem in the first place.”
And a large part of Red Bull’s understanding of the problem, especially with today’s ground effect aerodynamic cars, comes from their design guru Adrian Newey.
As Max Verstappen put the final piece of the puzzle in place at the Hungarian Grand Prix for Red Bull to set a new record for the most consecutive wins in Formula 1, 12, Skinner says the team is driven by Newey’s “never compromise” philosophy.
“Never compromise,” he said. “With him it’s always about car performance, nothing else matters.
“And I think when I joined in 2006, and then he arrived, obviously, [it was] my first Formula One car that I’d worked on.
“He just completely changed the mindset about how you go about designing a Formula One car, there was no compromise. Everything was always about adding performance. And it’s just that single-minded vision. It’s like, okay, that’s how you do.”
So much so Newey and Red Bull would be fine putting an ugly car on the grid, as long as it’s fast.
“Looks don’t matter. If it looks horrible but it makes the car faster, we’ll put it on the car,” he said.