Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 leads Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

What made Red Bull’s DRS so effective in the Saudi Arabian F1 GP?

Red Bull raised eyebrows during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as the number 1 car breezed past a Mercedes and almost all of the mid-field cars without a single issue, but what made the RB19 so fast?

After the victorious race in Bahrain, it was thought that Red Bull might have to take a blow after Max Verstappen's P15 qualification due to an issue. However, things turned out to be quite different as the Dutchman overtook every single car in front of him and finished P2.


It is known that the RB19 is one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars, owing to the brilliance of Adrian Newey. However, unlike most teams on the grid, Red Bull looked quite fast even under the influence of the Drag Reduction System, or the DRS.

In Jeddah, there were many components of the rear wing that affected RB's pace. To better understand this, it is first important to know the types of rear wings that teams run in the sport. To categorize them in the simplest way, these are:

  • Low Downforce Rear Wing
  • Medium Downforce Rear Wing
  • High Downforce Rear Wing

Depending on the type of circuit a race is held on, teams choose their rear wing. However, with the implementation of the budget cap, it has been difficult for teams to make a lot of changes in their cars. Adding onto that, going to a low downforce track like Jeddah, the teams did not have many modifications in their rear wings available just yet.


What was the secret to Red Bull's rear wing in Jeddah?

In Jeddah, cars are set to run on low downforce, something which Mercedes did, but it also impacted their loss of downforce with the DRS open, which was quite less. However, to fight this, Red Bull had quite a unique solution.

There were changes in their wing's main plane, upper flap and, endplate which lowered the downforce on the car (components of the front wing). At the same time, there were changes in the beam wing of the car.

What is a beam wing in Formula 1?

The beam wing of the F1 car is attached under the main rear wing of the car, which is designed to disrupt the flow of 'dirty air' up and over the car that is behind. This produces much 'cleaner air' for the following-up car and hence makes it important for closer racing.

In addition to making it easier for the car behind to change, the beam wing element also makes a significant impact on the rear wing and the diffuser, and because the team made changes to it, they had a significantly faster car. As Lewis Hamilton stated, "I've definitely never seen a car so fast."

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