Inspired by the 1990s – The real reason for Red Bull’s F1 2023 dominance

Adrian Newey has worked his magic again thanks to a Williams revolution 30 years ago

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The Red Bull RB19 might be one of the most dominant cars Formula 1 has ever seen and it seems that nobody can put their finger on why.

All five races so far in 2023 have seen Red Bull cruise to an easy victory with only the Australian Grand Prix ending without a one-two for the team. Much of their advantage, though, only comes in the race as Ferrari have run the Bulls close in qualifying.

Haas aerodynamicist Juan Molina believes that Red Bull could have found a way to get their suspension close to the infamous active suspension developed by Williams in the early 1990s.

“I’m not saying anyone has it, but if someone in this field had active suspension, they would win the world championship. Because you can develop the car to a certain position,” Molina said.

“So if you understand what the car is doing and where you want it to be, that’s where you find performance. Probably some teams will go in that direction and try to get the car as low as possible, minimize bounce and then perform at all speeds. This is important for the driver.”

Banned since 1994

Red Bull are not actually using active suspension because they would have been found out and severely punished if they were after it was banned in 1994. But if they have found a way to get close then the rest of the grid has to do the same as a matter of urgency.

Active suspension allows the car to be much smoother in transition from front to back and side to side, making things more predictable, stable and softer on tyres.

It also means that the car can run closer to the ground without porpoising becoming an issue, which was a major talking point when these regulations came to be.

Another big advantage the Red Bull has is in a straight line. They have been regularly the fastest through the speed traps whether that’s with or without DRS and that means they can not only pull away when ahead but also overtake with relative ease compared to their rivals.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have both had to storm through the field at times this season and have been making passes even when the car ahead also has DRS to show just how strong they are.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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