Formula 1

Red Bull’s innovative multi-link 2020 F1 front suspension design

While Mercedes’ dual-axis steering system turned heads in the Barcelona Formula 1 paddock, Red Bull unveiled a front suspension change it hopes will eradicate its deficit in slow-speed corners.

While plenty of developments, such as the snorkel change on the nose, are obvious on the Red Bull, the bold revision of its suspension layout is much more hidden.

Last year’s RB15 featured a multi-link upper wishbone solution that many assumed had been abandoned when the RB16 was unveiled without it.

But a closer look at the RB16 at Barcelona revealed Red Bull has instead switched its concept, as Giorgio Piola’s image illustrates, using a multi-link lower wishbone instead (#1), with the rear leg mounted lower down (#2) than the front leg (#3).

The front leg of the lower wishbone has a novelty of its own too.

Not only is it mounted extremely high on the chassis, affording Red Bull the opportunity to slim the bottom of the bulkhead, it’s also a single element that passes from one side of the car to the other through the bulkhead (red arrow).

Red Bull has also paid attention to the forward leg of the upper wishbone, which now features the cricket bat styling on the fairing (white arrow).

It’s a feature that has been employed at the rear of cars in the past and is a geometrical anomaly used for aerodynamic purposes.

The layout has a weight-saving benefit, but also helps force airflow down towards the floor and bargeboards to improve the flow around the sidepods.

Asked by Autosport about that design philosophy, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “The Mercedes were good in that low-speed performance last year and that’s one area that we needed to improve.

“I think that we have made steps – and of course, this is just the start of a process, and the car will evolve from this point onwards.”

Red Bull has also revamped its rear suspension for 2020, opting for a much higher upright extension, whilst also raising the lower wishbone to the centreline of the wheel too.

This puts the lower wishbone inline with the driveshaft fairing behind in order that they can work together to improve airflow in the region.

The main gains of this will come from a clearer pathway for the airflow over the floor into the coke bottle region.

The team has also looked to maximise the performance of the winglets on the brake duct assembly, totally revamping their design, with a new clearer path available to the lower winglet stack.

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