Austrian F1 team Red Bull is a distant third in this year’s Formula One standings after Ferrari and Mercedes. With the introduction of new aerodynamic rules for this year, Red Bull was widely expected to challenge Mercedes. Instead, it is Ferrari that has taken the fight to Mercedes, with Ferrari leading the driver’s world championship after three races. Red Bull hopes to join the lead battle with a new chassis from the Spanish Grand Prix.
Details are a little thin on the new chassis, but the change is expected to be significant enough to require new crash tests. The FIA only requires fresh crash tests when there is a big change in the chassis and aerodynamics. The current Red Bull chassis is said to favor a low-drag configuration.
Red Bull did not expect both Mercedes and Ferrari to produce such finely detailed aerodynamics. The Ferrari side pod is so complicated that Red Bull aero chief Adrian Newey was unsure of what it did when he first saw the design.
What makes the situation worse is that the Renault engine is still down on power compared to the leading teams. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner estimates the power gap to result in a deficit of about half a second per lap.
In addition to the new aero package for Spain, Renault will bring an engine upgrade for the Canadian GP. Red Bull believes that those two changes should propel them to the front of the field where they can battle it out with Ferrari and Mercedes.