Secrets of Red Bull’s Tyre Management: Technical Analysis

Max Verstappen won the first race of the 2024 season, showcasing Red Bull’s RB20’s superior tyre management and aeromechanical platform, despite initial struggles, ultimately proving its dominance over competitors with its well-balanced performance on all tyre compounds.

Highlights

‣ Max Verstappen won the first race of the 2024 season, continuing his strong performance from the previous year, with exceptional tyre management being a key factor.

‣ The Red Bull RB20 car demonstrated superior performance on all tyre compounds, attributed to its high downforce and a mechanical system that optimizes tyre operation without causing degradation or bouncing issues.

‣ Despite struggling in the early practice sessions, the RB20’s race pace and tyre management capabilities allowed Verstappen and Perez to dominate the Grand Prix, highlighting the car’s balanced aero-mechanical platform.

‣ Red Bull’s new car, the RB20, incorporates innovative solutions for improved performance, including features inspired by other teams, aiming to enhance its behaviour on kerbs and in low-speed sections while maintaining high downforce and efficient load.


Max Verstappen kicked off the 2024 season with a bang, clinching victory right from the get-go. It’s like he never left the track after 2023 ended. The Dutch speedster managed to outpace everyone, teammate Sergio Perez included. But hey, ever wonder what magic they’ve got under the hood for such perfect tyre management?

Oh, and about that race control—Verstappen and Perez were practically in their own zip code. They dictated the pace, leaving competitors eating their dust throughout the Grand Prix. The RB20? A beast on any compound, letting the duo cruise on the C3s, the softest of the lot, for two-thirds of the race without breaking a sweat over tyre wear. How, you ask? Well, it’s all about that sweet spot of downforce and a mechanical symphony that keeps those tyres just right.

Diving into the nitty-gritty, it turns out Ferrari and Red Bull were neck and neck in the downforce department. Those high-speed corners? Almost identical speeds. But, the real kicker for Red Bull’s tyre whispering ways? A delicate balance in the car’s suspension—soft enough to warm those tyres up quick, yet stiff enough to keep the car sleek and low.

This setup not only cranks up the downforce via those Venturi channels but also sidesteps any nasty bouncing or porpoising. It’s like the RB20 is on rails, a testament to some top-notch tuning on both mechanical and aerodynamic fronts.

But, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Red Bull. Friday threw them a curveball, with the RB20 not quite feeling itself over a single lap. Verstappen and Perez weren’t shy about voicing their gripes, with the car feeling a tad slippery in the traction zones. Come FP2, and Verstappen, even with a dialed-down engine, only snagged P6 in the qualisim. It had folks wondering if he was on the back foot. Yet, this might just be teething problems with the RB20’s fresh blueprint, still a bit of a mystery box in both qualis and race trim.

Adrian Newey’s crew didn’t just rest on their laurels with the RB20. They kept the good bits from the RB19, like that downforce magic and tyre-friendly nature, but also went shopping for ideas to smooth out the rough edges. Borrowing a page or two from Mercedes and tweaking some SF-23 tricks, they’ve dialed in improvements across the board.

The result? A car that’s as comfy in a tight hairpin as it is blasting through a high-speed sweeper, all while packing an “efficient load” of downforce that doesn’t drag it down. Verstappen and Perez can nurse the tyres through a slow first lap, then hammer it home with a pace that’s in a league of its own.

Post-race, Verstappen couldn’t hide his glee with the RB20’s across-the-board compound performance. “Unbelievable,” he gushed to David Coulthard, “I think today went even better than expected.” And while they had the edge over the long haul, qualifying was a closer affair, with Ferrari showing they could give Red Bull a run for their money, especially in that third sector.

Wrapping up qualifying, Verstappen shared a mix of relief and optimism. The car, initially a bit of a handful, eventually clicked, boosting his confidence. It’s a clear signal—Red Bull might dominate the race days, but pole positions? Those could still be anyone’s game.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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