Look into how Red Bull has managed to achieve it's massive DRS advantage
The straightline speed of the Red Bull RB19, particularly with the DRS open, became a big talking point ever since Max Verstappen blasted past Lewis Hamilton with ease in F1's Saudi Arabian GP. It left an immediate impression on the extent of Red Bull's straight line speed advantage.
Ferrari admitted after the Australian GP that it expected to “compensate a bit more” on its straightline speed deficit to Red Bull this year but that has been hampered by its rival’s “mega big” DRS advantage.
In Saudi Arabia, the lead Ferrari was still 5km/h slower than the lead Red Bull at the speed trap in qualifying, and 7.1km/h slower at the finish line. And in Australia there was a 5.4km/h speed trap deficit, and 2.5km/h at the finish line (this was also a smaller number last year because of the short run to the line off the final corner in Melbourne).
Soon after the race in Saudi Arabia, Lewis Hamilton put it best that he had never seen a car have such an edge over the opposition as the RB19.
He said, "I've definitely never seen a car so fast. I think when we were fast, we weren't that fast. I don’t know why or how, but he came past me with serious speed. I think it's the fastest car I've seen, especially compared to the rest."
Secrets behind the advantage:
Hamilton's comments prompted a great deal of speculation regarding Red Bull's top speed superiority and just how it was being achieved.
While it is clear that Red Bull's car has tremendous aerodynamic efficiency, much of the focus has been on the speed boost improvement that Red Bull appears to get from having its DRS open.
It’s not only the DRS being open that gives it that big advantage, it’s the detail of the complete package that forms the foundation of a very efficient car.
Contrary to the belief of many, there can be and are differences in the effectiveness of DRS between the teams depending on how they have shaped their wings.
While there's a mandated maximum gap of 85mm that can be opened between the mainplane and upper flap, which is checked by the FIA, its effectiveness can be tuned by means of the wings' overall design features. Therefore, rather than there being some trick element to what Red Bull is up to, the answer appears to boil down to something very simple: having a wing that was perfectly suited to the circuits demands.
As we know, teams create a suite of rearwing designs for the variety of tracks that F1 visits throughout the course of the season. These are often categorized as low, medium and high downforce wings. However, there are often many more options in the suite of wings available than just one type for each level of downforce.
For many teams, the resource restrictions and cost cap have resulted in a reduction in the number of bespoke wing solutions when compared with the previous regulatory era. And, with a low downforce, high speed venue such as Saudi Arabia slotted into second place in the calendar, many teams didn't have a more bespoke option in their suite available just yet. Red Bull did though , with the new wing following the same general layout as the version used in Bahrain.
However, it had adaptations to the mainplane, upper flap and endplate transitions in order to lower downforce and drag, while also shifting the DRS delta compared with the wing used in Bahrain.
Furthermore, Red Bull only ran one beam wing element, which not only has direct implications on the downforce and drag being generated but also results in changes to the behaviour of the diffuser and rear wing, given they all are connected to one another, aerodynamically speaking.
This relationship also has a bearing on how the car performs when DRS is enabled and disabled, meaning it's always a tradeoff between how the car will perform in traffic and whilst running in free air.
Ultimately, there doesn't appear to be a big secret hidden away with Red Bull's DRS that the other teams haven't caught on to.
It was just a combination of it having a rear wing, beam wing and DRS delta more specific to the circuit, whereas the others adapted what they used in Bahrain.
Others should find more performance, relatively speaking, elsewhere throughout the course of the season as they will have wings better suited for other venues.
That said, it's also clear that overall the RB19 is head and shoulders above the rest anyway and this comes down to all of its design features working perfectly together.