Red Bull issue clear warning to rivals following RB19 floor reveal

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez crashes in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez crashes in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix

Red Bull have warned rivals that if they think an “ignorant” copy and paste of their RB19 floor will propel them up the order, then they should think again.

Crashes for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend gave rivals a detailed look at the crucial undersides of those challengers as the crane hoisted them away from the circuit.

Naturally, that left engineers from rival teams with plenty of photos to study for how they may be able to take inspiration for the floor on their respective cars, with Red Bull’s arguably of greatest interest considering their all-conquering form so far in F1 2023, having won all seven grands prix.

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella has already said “hats off” to Red Bull for their work, though Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan stressed that it is work which is successfully integrated into their package, and certainly not plug-and-play solutions.

Red Bull then now wait to see the results of that reveal across the grid, though Monaghan made it clear that an “ignorant copy” is not going to provide that silver bullet.

But, for those who do come up with some Red Bull-inspired solutions, Monaghan says they will not be seen until around October’s Japanese Grand Prix, Round 16 of 22.

“It’s not great,” said Monaghan of the RB19 floor being on show in Monaco, as per Motorsport.com. “We don’t put our car up [like that], but it has happened and we’ll move on.

“But there’s a phase lag between people seeing it, getting it onto their car and actually going faster with it. A better description is that an ignorant copy isn’t necessarily going to go faster. It has to integrate. And it’s not just a bit of floor geometry.

“Our development path is reasonably well laid out in terms of the timings we wish to try to deploy things if they’re going to make us go faster.

“If we change someone else’s development plan, then we probably increase the phase lag by which they can get it to the car. So around Japan time we’ll see where everybody is.

“But we’ve got to maintain our discipline and our development path. And it’s only our car that we can change. We can’t influence what those guys do. So, we’ll keep plugging away in our own manner and we’ll try to be quickest.”

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Red Bull took inspiration from Williams

The whole floor-copying debate is a two-way street, as Monaghan had previously revealed that an element of the Williams floor which Red Bull design chief Adrian Newey spotted served as inspiration for alterations to their RB19, which ultimately had a bigger impact than they had anticipated.

“We cannot assume that we have the best solution in all areas of the single-seater when you put a new car on the ground for the first time,” he said, as per the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.

“We as a parameter have the lap time to evaluate a solution, and if you find that Williams introduced a floor design that others then copied, so it was a sign that it had to give an advantage.

“It wasn’t necessarily going to work on our car, but we looked at it a couple of times and it turned out that it could give a small advantage.

“And when the solution was fitted, the result was bigger than we had actually thought. It’s certainly not the most influential thing, but it helps a bit.

“It was an area we were working on, so it was also possible to introduce this solution.”

It is looking like should teams start unveiling their Red Bull-inspired work around the time of the Japanese GP, by then Red Bull will already be comfortable home and dry with consecutive title doubles.

Max Verstappen has already built a lead of 53 points over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez at the top of the Drivers’ Championship, while in the Constructors’ standings Red Bull are 135 points clear of Mercedes.