Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey has confessed that he is embarrassed by the car that he delivered to the team, despite it being the best on the grid in the 2022 season.
Red Bull won the constructors’ championship while Max Verstappen stormed to his second successive title in the same car that Newey was referring to.
In a 22-race calendar, Verstappen and Sergio Perez combined to win a staggering 17 Grand Prix races between them, with the young Dutchman even setting the record for most wins by a driver in a single season.
What still stings Newey is just how heavy the Red Bull car was at the start of the season, with the team struggling to design in a way that would be under the 798kg minimum weight.
Red Bull did not exclusively face this problem under the new technical regulations.
The car was 20 kg over the limit, but both Mercedes and Ferrari were guilty of the same, if not to the same extent.
The Mercedes W13 was also 10 kg over the permissible limit, while the Ferrari stood 15 kg over.
Given the undoubted skills and reputation of being a perfectionist, Newey termed this situation as ’embarrassing’.
“A lot of things came together that drove the weight up more than expected,” Newey said.
He alluded to the change in tyres from 13 to 18-inch wheels as having a bigger impact than he initially imagined.
“The tyres were heavier than we initially thought. When you develop a car, you work with tolerances on the estimated weight.
“We thought we were going to be close to the weight limit, in fact we were well over it.
“We had a problem passing the side crash test and had to reinforce the structure there on the chassis. That means you pay for it in weight.”
Even the smaller parts of the car were far heavier than they should have been. This made the RB18 much heavier than the initial forecast.
“Some parts like the fairing were just too heavy because they were put together in a hurry. Then there were some stupid items. The footrest was a kilogram too heavy – it was designed at the last minute.”
As the season went on, Newey was able to trim some of the excess weight off the car.
He believes this definitely helped in adding balance and also allowing the car to be easier on its tyres.
“Our car was very difficult to set up in the first part of the season,” Newey said.
“We recognized our small working window as a weakness and worked on it specifically.
“In addition, we lost weight. That not only helps on one lap. It also reduces tyre wear. That is a function of the load on the tyres, be it weight or downforce.”
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