Red Bull has only a small straight-line advantage
Although the ten teams involved are all mathematically in the race for the title, two structures are prancing in the lead. Ferrari and Red Bull have been vying for first place since the start of the 2022 season and this match should last until the end of the year as the gap between these teams is small.
Red Bull has long tamed the Prancing Horse in the fast sections due to the excellent top speed of the RB18s of Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez. The victories of the reigning World Champion in Jeddah, Miami, Baku or Montreal, circuits with long straight lines, attest to this. But this period of domination seems to be over.
Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto says the recent introduction of a low downforce rear wing on the F1-75s now puts Ferrari on par with Red Bull, who no longer have a major advantage in straight lines and DRS areas.
« There was no doubt that we had a disadvantage against the Red Bull in terms of top speed, especially in the DRS zones »said Binotto, questioned by Motorsport.com. “Regarding the strength of their DRS compared to ours, we have worked a lot on that. [avec] the new rear wing that we first introduced with Charles in Canada and on both cars from Britain. And with this new rear wing, I think we just closed the speed gap we had. I think that [Red Bull] still has a small advantage but it is very slight or negligible. »
Charles Leclerc triumphed in Austria, on a circuit where speed prevails.
With this lower drag wing, Ferrari has also managed not to compromise its good tire management. Binotto added that nothing separated Ferrari and Red Bull when it came to grip but that Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were better able to exploit an advantage.
« In the [virages] where power is limited, we are very close »said the Italian. « We can then make a difference only in the corners where the grip is limited. I think we were fast [en Autriche]not only thanks to the car but thanks to the two drivers, who had a fantastic weekend in terms of car balance, set-up, tire understanding, tire management and driving on the circuit. »
Claudio Albertini, Ferrari’s director of racing operations, said the new Scuderia wing was aimed at medium downforce circuits: « [L’aileron] is for medium levels of downforce, similar to what we used for example in Miami or Australia, those kind of circuits. So we keep those downforce levels and work to get a more efficient rear wing. »
« With developments, we sometimes realize [des choses] when driving. We can see where we are compared to other teams and where we can improve. We can see it, for example, in the top speed, it was an area in which we could progress and we improved the efficiency [de l’aileron arrière] for this reason. »