Unpacking the RB19's Aero - Wheel Sports
RB19 Aero

Unpacking the RB19’s Aero

This post was contributed by Henk Ormel, who has been a much beloved member of our community at Wheel Sports and an incredibly insightful eye for feedback on technical matters.

After a lot of searching at good pics of the RB19 and the car on the move during winter testing, i think i figured out what Red Bull is doing and why it is so fast.


Unfortunatly i can’t tell much about the front wing but it looks quite even loaded with a little outwash. 

The fun part begins at the floor inlets. The double strake disapeared, there is only a single one per side left. This way the three inside strakes can be better positioned. Two of them are visible under the floor where they exit just after the floor inlet ramp. There they create quite a powerfull outwash what takes the turbulent wheel wake even more to the outside. Also this creates a quite powerfull vortex to seal the floor side. This was at last years car provided by the double strake in front of the inlet.

A little higher up are the petruding lower lips of the sidepod intakes. At that point the air is traveling downwards so a lot of area to ingest air without the frontal area penalty. Just below that is a big wide undercut witch about halfway suddenly shrinks in aera due to the bulge in the lower part of the sidepod. At high speeds not all air is able to pass thru the venturi so it has to go the long way around and gets accelerated even more. After the bulge the high velocity air gets pulled inside again by the coandra effect and even more accelerated. The air over the top of the sidepod partial meets about here the air in beween the floor and the sidepod. Also that air did travel a greater distance so it got accerated. All that low presure high velocity air exits around the defusor and helps the defusor pulling out more air under the floor. The air that stays on top of the sidepod gets a lower pressure and therefore less drag on the surface. The surface drops away in the direction of the topside of the defusor. With the dropping of that surface the presure drops even more and the air accelerates in the direction of the topside of the defusor and helps pulling air out underneath the floor.

At lower speeds all air is able to pass thru the venturi between the floor and the sidepod and gets accelerated.

The bazooka pipes do exit downwards inbetween the beam wing and the rear wing. The air in between the barrels and the sidepod gets accerated due to the more slopeing of the sidepod in comparison to the barrel. This air hits downwards the beam wing. I haven’t seen a proper picture of that yet so i’m not sure if it is a double decker configuration like lasy year or a two part wing configuration as all others last year. The air on top of the bazooka’s and just aside and just below are trapping the hot air exiting the engine compartiment and guides it in between the beamwing and rearwing. The air that is effecting the rear wing is pulled down by all tbe previous actions and hits the wing in a downward angle. The change in direction the air is forced to make is quite significant.

All the previous events are working the air quite hard and there is no free ride. This all comes at a drag penalty. So where the RB19’s laptime comes from?

At point one, al air traveling alongside an outside curve doesn’t push hard on that surface and in that way creates less drag.

At point two, all air traveling alongside an outside curved surface gets pulled so volume gets bigger, pressure drops and speed goes up.

At point three, the main part, with increasing speed the air seperates of of the outside wing surfaces more and more. This means downforce levels are more ore less constant with varying speeds. This opens the posibility of a reasoneble complient suspention becourse the aero loads at high speeds are no longer present. This means the return of mechanical grip, so acceleration is much better.

I am by no means an aerodynamic engineer but i do fly model aeroplanes as a hobby in competition. Aero on a car or aero on a plane does function the same, just in reverse.

What Red Bull is doing is creating adjustable aero by varying speed without moving parts