Red Bull Racing faced frustration during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend when images of their floor and diffuser design were inadvertently exposed to the public.
The mishap occurred as Sergio Perez’s crashed car was being craned away during the qualifying session, leaving Red Bull annoyed over the incident.
Several rival teams admitted to gaining valuable insights from the exposed RB19 design.
Mercedes even acknowledged possessing a collection of images that their aerodynamicists were meticulously studying.
While Red Bull anticipated that it might take until the Japanese Grand Prix for other teams to incorporate any interesting discoveries into their designs, they also believed that mere replication would not guarantee progress.
Paul Monaghan, Red Bull’s Chief Engineer, acknowledged the disappointment caused by the revealed images, stating: “It’s not great. We don’t put our car up [like that], but it has happened, and we’ll move on.
“However, there’s a phase lag between people seeing it, implementing it, and actually gaining speed. Simply copying without integration won’t necessarily make them faster. It’s not just about the floor geometry.”
Monaghan explained that it typically takes months for design ideas to be implemented on an actual car, suggesting that copycat concepts might only start emerging around October.
Red Bull had a well-laid-out development plan with specific timings to enhance their speed on the track.
Changing other teams’ plans could potentially prolong the time required to incorporate new elements into their cars.
Monaghan emphasized that Red Bull could only control their own vehicle’s development and would stay focused on their own disciplined approach, striving to be the fastest.
Apart from the intrigue surrounding Red Bull’s floor design, the team had also witnessed rivals Mercedes and Ferrari adopting their downwash sidepod concept.
Monaghan played down the significance of this convergence, highlighting that such design trends had occurred in Formula 1 for years and were not cause for excessive excitement.
“We can go back to 2009, 2010, 2011, even ’14 when we were winning races with a package similar to Mercedes’. We’re not immune to it,” Monaghan added.
“Others will examine our car and incorporate influences if they believe it will make them faster. It’s fine.
“Just ask McLaren about 2011 and their car, which transformed when it sported an exhaust similar to ours. It’s been happening for years, and it will continue. There are no copyrights, are there?”
While Red Bull Racing expressed annoyance over the inadvertent exposure of their design, they remained committed to their development path, determined to maintain their focus on maximizing their own performance.