Red Bull has faith that its high-rake concept is still the right way to go in Formula 1, despite some rivals suggesting it may have reached its limit of performance.
The Milton Keynes-based outfit has led the way with its high-rake concept in F1, with technical chief Adrian Newey convinced that it is the best solution for maximising downforce.
But amid the difficulties of its troublesome RB16, which has left Max Verstappen and Alex Albon struggling at times to find a good balance, there have been suggestions that the high-rake option may no longer offer as much scope for improvement as low-rake solutions.
McLaren technical director James Key suggested recently that his outfit was considering moving to a low-rake car for 2021 because it felt that there could be bigger opportunities for downforce gains.
“While I don’t think the high-rake philosophy is dead necessarily, it does make you step back and think, well, maybe there is more out there that we could be finding at a lower rake,” said Key. “And in fact we’ve got some ideas and thoughts on how that might work.”
But while Red Bull is aware that there is some debate about high-rake cars, its motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says that Newey is sure that its philosophy is the right one.
“We’re looking into this,” Marko told Autosport in an exclusive interview about the high-rake issue. “But since Newey believes that this is the most efficient solution, we’re sticking with it for the time being.
“The top three, and Max [Verstappen] is among them, are lapping the rest of the field, so we can’t be that wrong with our concept. We believe in it. That’s why you have a technical director, to set the direction.”
Although Red Bull did not have the start to the season it hoped for, it has got on top of the early issues with the RB16 and Marko says that the team has hit a purple patch as it bids to close the gap to Mercedes.
“The whole team is on fire,” said Marko. “What we did with the repair in Hungary [after Verstappen crashed on his way to the grid] was incredible. We did three pitstops in Spain under two seconds. Everyone is on fire at the moment.”
And although teams are not allowed to design all-new cars for 2021, Marko says that means that extra effort is being put in to improve the current challenger because any upgrades will carry over into next season.
“The cars will remain as they are now,” he said. “It’s another reason why we are really pushing development further this year: because we will have that for next year as well.”