First impressions of Red Bull’s ‘soft evolution’ RB19 F1 car

Amid almost no fanfare, the first glimpses of Red Bull’s latest F1 challenger were seen as the car was wheeled down the pitlane following the traditional pre-testing photoshoot on the grid.

And, as expected from a team that had performance in hand for most of last season, there has been no revolution with its car. Instead, it is more of a soft evolution of the winning concepts seen on the RB18.

This starts at the front of the car with the nose. The tip has been widened slightly and a low-drag air inlet has replaced the oval type used last season.

Out on the rear outermost lower corner of the endplate, there is a small winglet mounted.

The design window available for these winglets is very narrow, owing to how prescriptive the regulations are, but it’s interesting to see that three teams, including Mercedes and Haas, have already found a way to include them in their designs this season.

Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The areas where there have been the most visible changes among all the 2023 cars are the sidepods and engine cover, with many having already started to switch concepts during 2022 to something more akin to the RB18’s downwash philosophy.

Red Bull, meanwhile, having been seen as the trendsetter in this area, has opted for subtle optimisation of the concept, with the same core DNA present in this year’s design.

The bodywork, which was already form fitting, has been further shrink-wrapped around the internal components where it can assist aerodynamically.

For 2023, the undercut is even more generous and reaches around under the flank and cuts into the ramped rear section.

The engine cover is a similar story, with Red Bull having already adopted the higher, shelf-like, adaptation during last season.

The RB19 has a similar scheme, which has once again been optimised to improve airflow conditions. However, the feature isn’t as dominant as some of its rivals, who have taken the concept and incorporated a very aggressive variant this season.

Red Bull RB19 floor edge detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

One of the most interesting aspects of the RB19’s design is the floor edge, with the team having totally re-imagined it and the edge wing furniture.

Two very different-looking winglets kick things off and are arched upwards and outwards to help with the new height restrictions placed on this region of the floor.

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Meanwhile, stretching rearwards down the car, we find an elongated and twisted edge wing, which is anchored to the floor’s edge by means of some tall horseshoe brackets.

These have also been orientated in such a manner that they will infer the desired aerodynamic effect, albeit limited by the scope of what’s possible within the regulations.

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