Red Bull and Ferrari showed complete control during the 2022 F1 championship. The two frontrunners have won all the 13 races held so far, with Red Bull winning nine of them. While the Austrian outfit has taken a hefty 97-point lead in the constructors’ championship over Ferrari, there has not been a great performance gap between the two teams. Both the teams have used different development and designing strategies. But, the only difference between the two teams has been errors, reliability, and bad strategy. Thus, the Red Bull’s RB18 and Ferrari’s F1-75 have been the best versions of the newly introduced ground-effect F1 cars. Red Bull and Ferrari developed quite different interpretations of the newly introduced aerodynamic regulations. However, the two teams have managed a similar lap time with different strategies.

Early in the season, the design concepts of the Red Bull and Ferrari cars were quite different. But as the season has progressed, most teams have opted for some common aerodynamic solutions that bring them the best results. The visible difference between the two cars is the sidepods. Red Bull went for the conventional sidepod design. However, they created a larger air passage channel between the sidepods and the floor by enhancing the radiator inlets. Meanwhile, the Scuderia preferred an above airflow using the famous tub created by the car’s scalloped bodywork.

F1-75 & RB18

Further, the similarities between the RB18 and the F1-75 have been their common ability to create grip induced by venturi ducts’ efficiency situated at the floor’s lower part. Moreover, both the cars are quite insensitive to the change in ride heights and perform quite effectively very close to the ground. Thus, while porpoising has not been an issue for Red Bull, Ferrari had to make some floor experiments to get rid of the bouncing.

Coping Weakness Of The F1 Cars

Teams have tried to get rid of all their weaknesses while bringing in upgrades during the first half of the 2022 championship. Ferrari and Red Bull have different strengths. Red Bull has been very fast in terms of straight-line pace and had a DRS advantage of up to 15 kmph compared to Ferrari. Meanwhile, the Scuderia was carrying more speed into the corners. The Italian outfit introduced a new rear wing in Spain to counter Red Bull’s DRS advantage.

Ferrari Rear Wing Development

They aimed to get more efficient DRS when the flaps were open by increasing the DRS chord to the detriment of a smaller mainplane. However, the overall load difference did not change when the flap was closed. But, the flap width was made wider to offer less drag when it was opened. They managed to get quite close to Red Bull’s DRS speed after new series of wings since Barcelona. 

Meanwhile, The Italian outfit got rid of the bouncing by bringing in a series of floor revisions, bringing a new outer fence, a new side edge, and changes in the car’s lower parts. The final version was introduced in Spain, where the lower part of the diffusor was changed too. Ferrari also diverted the airflow in the outermost part to counter the aerodynamic stalling of the floor. They implemented a keel in the lower part of the diffusor to create a channel that was seen during the race in Australia.

Red Bull Takes A More Aggressive Development Approach Than Ferrari

Elsewhere, Red Bull focused on making the car more to the liking of their world champ Max Verstappen. They initially created a car that offered less understeer, increasing the load in the rear with no unbalancing of the car. Red Bull succeeded in predicting porpoising during winter simulations, and their focus was on getting the car into the weight limit. The Austrian team held back any major upgrades until Spain. They introduced new sidepods during the final testing day in Bahrain. Then, the front wing endplate was cut off in Australia to shed some weight.

Red Bull

Further, Red Bull sought more performance after Imola as they upgraded several aspects of their RB18, including the floor. Six weeks later, Red Bull raised the venturi tunnels and set them back in Baku. Red Bull continued to make changes in the rear with a major upgrade in Silverstone. There have been some significant changes in the RB18 since then, where the team worked on better airflow, allowing it to pass through the beam wing area. They also brought in the Ferrari’s anti-porpoising floor.

Further, Ferrari brought their main upgrade in France, where they revised the floor at the front and modified the air inlet area. The inlet channel was made wider while Ferrari sacrificed the venturi duct flow to make way for the floor’s upper edge in the outer area. Thus, the two teams have been battling quite hard with their active developments over the course of each race. Despite the similarities, Red Bull has had the upper hand so far n the championship. It will be interesting to witness how things pan out for both teams during the second half of the championship.