Red Bull‘s rivals in Formula One are hoping to gain insight into the team’s success by studying photographs of the underside of Sergio Perez‘s car, following its removal from the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. The car floor is known to be the most sensitive area of the vehicle for aerodynamics, making it responsible for much of its performance. It is also notoriously difficult for rival teams to view, unless a car overturns or is lifted off the ground. The crane used to remove Perez‘s car after his crash in qualifying on Saturday provided an opportunity to study the car, which could yield valuable information about Red Bull‘s closely guarded secrets.
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes‘ trackside engineering director, said on Sunday that “the most important bit is the bit you don’t normally get to see.” He added: “So the teams will be all over those kinds of photographs. Monaco is a good opportunity to get that kind of shot.” Lewis Hamilton‘s newly-upgraded car was also hoisted high into the air, giving Mercedes a good view of its underside. Shovlin suggested, however, that Red Bull would be more concerned about this than Hamilton‘s team.
Tom McCullough, Aston Martin‘s performance director, said that even the wooden plank that runs down the centre of every Formula One car’s floor could provide useful information. “You learn a lot from just even how the plank is wearing. You learn from what’s touching,” he noted. “There’s a lot of very excited aerodynamicists up and down the pitlane looking at all of that.”
Toto Wolff, team boss at Mercedes, made a tongue-in-cheek remark on Saturday that the operator of the crane must have been trained by the “Cirque du Soleil”, given the high angle at which Hamilton‘s car was lifted. Nonetheless, he admitted that this was “suboptimum” for his team.
Red Bull has been dominant in Formula One so far this season, with four one-two finishes in as many races. Its rivals are now eagerly scouring photographs of Perez‘s car in the hopes of gleaning something that can help them close the gap and challenge the Austrian team’s dominance. Monaco, with its narrow track and lack of run-off space, provides a unique opportunity to inspect the underside of these high-tech vehicles.