Red Bull F1 team explains loss of top speed at Monza
Unlike its first eight seasons under hybrid powertrain regulations, Red Bull has always been strong on high-speed tracks after ground effects returned.
In Jeddah (qualifying and racing) and Miami (qualifying), the pair of RB18s were the fastest cars through designated speed traps.
But at Monza on Friday, Red Bull were second, just 1mph ahead of the slowest Haas as they trailed the standout Ferrari on the 6mph straight as the home side topped the pack.
Data Autosport saw that Red Bull is faster than Ferrari from the sprint of the first chicane to Curva Grande, the second chicane, Ascari and from the final corner previously known as Parabolica.
However, Ferrari is more efficient at deploying its battery to produce higher top speeds on the straights.
Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache revealed that the relatively slow speeds were due to a deliberately higher downforce rear wing setup.
Asked by Autosport for an explanation, he said: “I don’t think it’s due to the engine, that’s for sure. It’s clearly down to the level of drag we’re running on the car.
“He seems, compared to others, higher. As you have seen, we have not changed the rear fenders compared to the other tracks.
“The others changed, then [that impacts] the maximum speed range.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport footage
This comes despite Red Bull bringing a low-drag rear wing with a cut flap for Monza, while Ferrari is fielding a revised beam wing.
Wache added: “We defined the season and divided the season by three back wings, and we control around those three back wings.
“Of course, the beam wing is also part of it, as are other teams. But we are developing the car around that, for different reasons: for efficiency in terms of downforce of course. But also the budget efficiency.
Red Bull have used this tactic before at Monza, with Sebastian Vettel winning the 2013 Italian Grand Prix by deploying a short seventh gear and greater downforce to accelerate better through the corners and spend less time on the straights at the total despite less speed.
According to Wache, Red Bull ruled out refusing the piece in response to Max Verstappen’s five-seater grid penalty, with the defending champion taking a new internal combustion engine.
According to team boss Christian Horner, this was on the advice of supplier Honda.
He said: “We chose to take this penalty here on the advice of our engine partner.
“Five places here isn’t too drastic, so adding this extra engine to our pool for the remaining seven races, we just strategically thought it was the right thing to do.”
Verstappen is not expected to make any other component changes that would result in penalties.