The second round of the season that promises to be under the banner of the Ferrari and Red Bull Challenge certainly did not live up to expectations. The duel that took place in Jeddah between the world champion and the horse rider intensified the essence of Formula 1, the same that has affected entire generations of fans and their families over the years. Even more than the direct contrast between Verstappen and Leclerc, facilitated by the excessive use of the DRS to the point of under-focusing overtaking maneuvers, the Great Show was embodied by the prolonged pursuit between the duelists. Max and Charles always drive to the extreme, constantly outdoing themselves through a continuous succession of fast laps, managing excesses of power, touching Jeddah’s walls, and in some cases touching them, giving them the freedom to express their driving skills on the difficult and dangerous Arabian track. Despite recent changes, the Saudi route is proving unsuitable to ensure acceptable safety for pilots, with the risk that a violent impact on the barriers could cause them to return to the route, with poor visibility for those arriving. All this generates anxiety, but above all regret, as if the same design had been done in a perpetual circuit, with gravel and grass on the track to replace the baffles, it would have resulted in one of the better systems to come from Hermann Tilke’s pen, without diminishing its interpretation. behind the wheel.
Coming back to the competitive side, the challenge between Verstappen and Leclerc was a direct result of the exceptional work done by the teams involved. It was one of the traits that contributed the most to Red Bull’s victory The amazing straight line speed of the RB18, on the basis of which three factors can be identified. In the first place, the Milton Keynes car already in Bahrain expressed higher rollover speeds, which indicates the high aerodynamic efficiency of the car body, that is, lower drag in relation to the liberated load. Then there’s the behavior of Honda’s previous power unit: The environment agrees that Ferrari’s engines benefit from higher peak power, but it’s not the only quality that determines the quality of modern hybrids. Honda’s developed unit for 2021 already indicates excellent regeneration capability From the MGU-H coupled with the turbocharger. Sakura technicians sacrificed part of the combustion efficiency of the heat, in order to get more energy left in the exhaust gases that could be used to recharge the battery through the turbine. A distinctive feature of the Honda power unit, which ensures high energy availability with which the hybrid can be operated the entire length of the strait, without resorting to cutting and cutting electric power before braking. Gouda also remained in the renamed 2022 Red Bull engine, helping to increase top speeds while paying for the shortfalls in terms of sheer power and traction in the pull.
In the specific case of Jeddah, The RB18 proved to be impervious in a row too thanks to the setup options, in particular unloaded on both cars. Red Bull drove to Saudi Arabia Low Load Package which also included a smaller radial wing, which invests additional resources among those granted by the budget cap. On Friday, Verstappen and Perez tried two different rear wing configurations, then agreed to the lighter solution and rejected the aileron used in Bahrain. The Anglo-Austrian car was noticeably slower in turns than red, indicating a much lower level of aerodynamic downforce indicating some loopholes in tire management in the race. However, after some difficulties noted with a full fuel tank in the early stages of the Grand Prix, with more vacuum cars and stiffer vehicles, the wear turned out to be less than expected. However, it should also be noted that, net aerodynamic configuration, Red Bull is more than capable of expressing its full potential in the race than qualifying. In fact, in both Bahrain and Jeddah, Verstappen complained of a few difficulties in raising the front axle temperature, highlighted by the team’s chosen exhaust settings, a recurring feature at Red Bulls in recent years that limits competitiveness in qualifying. . Once the tires were warmed up, the racing RB18 was able to make the most of its aerodynamic, mechanical and structural characteristics, with the Dutchman also showing better tire pressure stability.
Therefore, Red Bull is being asked to work on eliminating the problem, which is not the only problem. In Jeddah, the RB18 debuted Large front brake air intakes After the exhaustion suffered by Bahrain. Although the Arabian track was less challenging due to the factory temperatures, both for high medium speeds and for having few deep braking sections, the Anglo-Austrian cars were not exempt from critical problems in thermal management, which can become a limiting factor on the The most challenging tracks for the brakes. Then there is a file Alarm bell about the reliability of power units: After the three retirements in Sakhir, in Jeddah it was necessary to replace the turbo and MGU-H in Perez’s car, while Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri was unable to start the race due to technical issues. Therefore, there are many signs of the precarious reliability of Honda’s previous units, an aspect potentially crucial to the key to the World Championship.
Monday morning coffee in Maranello will have a bittersweet taste. On the other hand, the bitterness of an imminent victory over even a few lucky rings contrasted with the realization that F1-75 was equally competitive on a track more suited to Red Bull’s excellent speed skills. Ferrari also collected a large number of points on a circuit where the pitfalls are always close. Red has proven to be a vehicle with multiple resources, Highlighting some margins of intervention, both technical and methodological.
In fact, Mattia Binotto admitted to the German press that the team chose an overloaded group, in anticipation of the level of tire wear in the race which later turned out to be less than expected. Thus, Formula 1-75’s straight-track speed performance is not compensated by the race’s speed superiority, and it also compromises attack and defense capabilities in close duels with Red Bull. Failure to simulate the race pace in FP2 on Friday afternoon limited data collection on actual tire wear, but the final choice of setting was probably also conditioned on previous experiences. Indeed, in the first half of 2021, Ferrari turned to low-load settings adjacent to the max, in order to compensate for the lack of cavalry from the power unit, however it suffered a significant deterioration in the race. The catastrophic race of Paul Rijkaard, strongly conditioned by granulation, to a change of course, as the Reds used higher load levels in the second half of the season to keep their pace at long distances. Despite having a radically different car, Ferrari technicians were concerned about not being exposed again in Jeddah. granulation, which affects the final decision on the setup. Then there is the illogical behavior of the Formula 1-75 race in Saudi Arabia, which he suffered in qualifying Pop up when new tires are installedwhich reflects better competitiveness in the flying lap with used tires.
Overall, both Red Bull and Ferrari have shown that they can look forward to winning on the track limited in front of Like the Arab, which enhances on the Bahraini track the best traction characteristics and rear end stability. Other types of track are still missing, with different balancing needs and where speed in laying is less decisive, but Jeddah and Sakhir nonetheless offer a wide range of cases indicating this Both cars can have equal world championship ambitions. It’s also good to see how the RB18 and F1-75 are very different cars and each have traits that contrast with their competition, which in general compensate and help relive the dynamics of direct challenges on the track.
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