In the round-up: Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey explains the concept behind the team’s latest class-leading Formula 1 car.

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In brief

Newey explains “more extreme” RB20

Although the RB20 is outwardly different to its predecessor in several key ways, Newey says the core idea behind it is the same, but taken to a more advanced level.

“Really the sort of architecture of the car, has stayed very similar,” he told Sky. “Third generation since ’22. The aero principles which you now see on this year’s car compared to last year, it’s a route that we were taking really since early ’22 and it’s just a more extreme version or route down the same path.”

Red Bull introduced its first significant upgrade for the car at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, adding new vents either side of the cockpit surrounds among other changes. “The whole principle including the top body is kind of extending a principle that we really started to push quite hard last year.” said Newey.

“It’s a credit to all the guys back at the factory, obviously,” he added. “We’ve got a tremendous team of engineers, and then that spreads through to the whole organisation and their enthusiasm and drive and creativity is what you see here before you.”

Stroll avoids pit penalty

Aston Martin was not penalised for releasing Lance Stroll’s car from its pit box alongside Kevin Magnussen’s car as the stewards deemed he wasn’t able to blend into the traffic in the pit lane. Magnussen had Valtteri Bottas close behind.

“Car 18 [Stroll] exited the pit stop in the working lane slightly behind car 20 [Magnussen] in the fast lane,” the stewards noted. “Appendix L Chapter IV Article 5 b) [of the International Sporting Code] states that car 18 should blend into the fast lane as soon as it is safe to do so and without impeding any car in the fast lane. Because car 20 was in the fast lane and was followed closely by car 77 [Bottas], it is not possible to determine that car 18 could have blended prior to the pit exit.”

Stroll overtook Magnussen as they left the pits, which the stewards ruled was legal. “At the pit exit line, car 18 was still behind car 20. Car 18 overtook car 20 in the pit exit road. This is not prohibited.”

Suzuka showed Ferrari’s “real step forward”

Both Ferrari drivers made gains in the race

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur took heart from the team’s performance in the Japanese Grand Prix, where Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc gained places from the starting positions to finish third and fourth respectively.

“We made a real step forward over the winter and the results of that can be seen on track,” he said. “We had a very solid Sunday, securing the best result possible after a difficult qualifying yesterday and that’s something we definitely have to work on.”

Ferrari “did everything perfectly in the race, from strategy to tyre management,” said Vasseur. “Both drivers did an excellent job in managing their respective strategies. With Carlos starting nearer the front we could be more aggressive so that he finished on a charge, pulling off several great passing moves.

“We were a bit more limited with Charles, as he was down in eighth on the grid, but he drove an excellent first stint and so we were able to execute a one-stop strategy that meant he made up a lot of places.”

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“Mixed feelings” for Haas after missing points

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu had “mixed feelings” about his team’s performance at Suzuka, a track they predicted would not suit their car.

“In the end, we missed out being in the top 10 by five seconds with Nico [Hulkenberg] which is very frustrating,” he said. “On the positive side, our race pace today was much better than what we saw earlier in the weekend, so the changes the team made after FP3 and before qualifying worked well.”

Nico Hulkenberg gained two places at the original start but lost more than that due to a poor getaway at the restart.

“The first start was fine but on the second start he didn’t do the procedure correctly so he went into anti-stall and lost positions,” Komatsu explained. “From there to recover to almost scoring points was very encouraging, so that’s the positive we’re going to take.”

French GP needs major funding to return

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said the French Grand Prix needs government backing to return to the calendar. The race was last held in 2022 at Paul Ricard.

“In a marriage you must have at least two people who agree so what we need is interest from France, for the country to understand that, when today you want to organise a Formula 1 grand prix, you need a significant investment,” he told Canal Plus.

“I think it can be organised at a central level with the government. For example, when we come here [to Japan] there is the prime minister and then all of the other people who are in the F1 project. Because F1 is a possibility for the country to be represented throughout the world.”


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