How brake designs can explain the Red Bull/Ferrari tire differences

However, the Red Bull rival quickly found success and after the summer break became even more striking, especially at race pace, as the RB18 appeared to have a clear advantage in the handling characteristics of the tyres.

Much of the focus on performance change has inevitably focused on aviation development, as this is an area where all teams make many changes throughout the year.

However, there are other aspects of the vehicle’s design and setup that can play an equally important role in the package’s overall performance. Ferrari’s tire-related headache may not be the only cause of aviation.

The Ferrari tires seem to have a higher tendency to overheat compared to the Red Bull tires. This is ideal for qualifying sessions as it helps to switch tires and also contributed to Leclerc and Carlos Sainz can still fight for pole position until now.

However, during the long warm-up cycle that the tires are subjected to throughout the race, the Ferrari’s temperature can rise faster than that of its main rival, which is not always a strategic advantage over several laps.

Given how different the tire performance is on the Red Bull and Ferrari cars, it’s interesting to note that the two teams are on opposite sides when it comes to how they approach brake heat management.

This is especially true in light of the relationship between wheel rim and tire bulk temperature.

Comparison of brake pads

This is an area where teams have spent a significant amount of their resources during the previous rule set. But the introduction of new regulations for 2022 has largely meant that research and development has been reset.

The introduction of 18-inch wheels as standard has led to numerous size changes, with the rims at the front of the car now having to be between 325 and 330mm instead of 278mm.

In addition, the holes that pass through the disk must be at least 3 mm, changing not only the way heat is transferred, but also the behavior of the air flow.

And then there is the requirement to divert the air flow passing through the brake assembly only through the rear-facing outlet. In the past, teams would pull this across the front of the wheel for added aerodynamic effect.

Ferrari F1-75 front brakes

Photo: Giorgio Piola

In response to these changes, we saw Red Bull, McLaren, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri use an internal brake disc fairing. Mercedes and Williams also applied a quasi-fluidic solution.

Meanwhile Ferrari alpineAston Martin and Haas are the four teams that have left the disc exposed in the brake drum, which is now much larger as it has been increased in size to fit the enlarged wheel.

McLaren’s first attempts to use the fairing solution were not without drama. While the MCL36 seemed extremely competitive during the first pre-season test in Barcelona, ​​the team quickly discovered that it had to make changes due to severe overheating.

McLaren MCL36 front brakes

Photo: Giorgio Piola

This led to the original carbon fiber concept being scrapped and a metal version put into service while a thorough redesign could be completed.

The new version that arrived at the Spanish Grand Prix (above, right) resulted in a much larger fairing and required the rerouting of the ducting that supplies cold air to the caliper.

While other teams using this fairing solution didn’t have the glaring issues that McLaren encountered, they also spent the season optimizing their designs for performance.

With Red Bull, it’s easy to see how smaller changes resulted in performance breakthroughs, as the exposed insulation wool used in the original design (below, left) was removed when the team changed the shape of the fairing.

The fairing then received many iterations of shape to help reduce heat transfer between the brakes, wheel rim, and tires (e.g., below, right, red arrow).

Red Bull RB18 front brake assembly

Photo: UnCredited

In an effort to help manage this temperature transfer, the team also applied thermal coatings to the fairing and caliper internals (see insets below).

Given that Ferrari has already announced that it won’t be bringing any major new parts to the races in the latter stages of the season, we can’t expect the F1-75 to copy its rival’s approach.

However, that doesn’t mean the Scuderia aren’t paying close attention to their opponents and won’t look to incorporate something similar next season.

Red Bull RB18 Front Brake Comparison

Photo: Giorgio Piola

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