Visa Cash App RB: “Small” cooling issues anticipated

Jaden Diaz
22 Feb, 2024

The first day of testing took home in Bahrain for the new Visa Cash APP RB (Racing Bulls), which ended the day without any particular problems.

Ricciardo and Tsunoda completed a total of 115 laps overall on day 1, with the Australian showing impressive form. Though he finished 1.2s behind Max Verstappen, the other front-runners are within touching distance. Work by the Anglo-Italian team was carried out mainly on media (C3) and soft (C4).

Apparently a good result, as far as the pre-season test rankings count, but Ricciardo prefers to fly low.

“We have a lot of work to do during the tests. The car is decent, but we have to be cautious,” he explained. Despite this, team principal Laurent Mekies is aiming for ambitious positions in the standings.

Still, both drivers and teams know that the VCARB01, for now, only represents a basis on which to patiently build a future of higher positions in the standings, as the former Ferrari himself declared at the presentation:

“There is a lot of expectation on us but we are aware that the initial phase of the season will be quite tough. We pushed hard at the end of last year, and we’ve made other profound changes this winter. The project is more long-term.” 

Three days of important tests especially to “get to know” the new front suspension of the RB19

This year in Faenza they have in their hands a car equipped with the entire mechanical platform of the Red Bull RB19, the car that dominated the previous year.

The cognitive work on the new mechanics will almost entirely encompass the three days of testing in Bahrain and will, above all, concern the pull-rod front suspension.

As far as the front is concerned, the former AlphaTauri has always done almost everything in Faenza, unlike the rear where the entire transferable packaging between the Power Unit, gearbox and suspension is regularly purchased from the parent company Red Bull.

A “first time” forces the Faenza technicians to carry out fine-tuning and learning work on the new single-seater, which is also different in many other aspects compared to the old AT04

The pull-rod front suspension of the VCARB01

There are many expectations surrounding the new VCARB01. The objective, as reiterated several times, will be to battle for sixth position in the constructors’ standings, trying to be permanently in the points zone.

The mid-group battle seems to be among the closest this year too, the difference will be made by well-chosen developments and few mistakes.

“I don’t think we’ll be front row, even though we’d like to be soon. Our battle will be with Williams, Sauber and maybe Alpine,” Ricciardo reiterated yesterday.

The Australian knows that to aspire to Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat for a return to the parent company, he needs a car that allows him to express himself at his best after dark years at McLaren.

If the Visa Cash APP Racing Bulls proves to be very competitive, the new Team Principal Laurent Mekies is aware that he will have to manage well the discontent that could hover around the team.

While not breaking the regulations, the more direct connection with Milton Keynes – and above all because the ownership is the same as Red Bull – makes McLaren and Alpine turn up their noses.

The performance of the VCARB is being monitored by the other teams, especially when the aerodynamic department makes the definitive move from Bicester to Milton Keynes within the current year.

Some cooling problems anticipate new bellies already in Saudi Arabia

During the 200-kilometre filming carried out in Misano, we saw the true aerodynamic appearance of the Racing Bulls.

Compared to the presentation renderings, the car that took to the track first in Misano, and then yesterday in Bahrain, we saw the new body and the new bottom developed in the tunnel in the technical winter just ended.

The new bellies are updated compared to the launch renderings on the upper edge, where the double slope for the down-wash is no longer present. Still, the garment descends more regularly towards the rear, even through the usual slides.

From what we have learned, however, the Faenza technicians have had to deal with significant cooling problems linked to incorrect management of the flow entering the air-water radiators since the Misano shakedown.

Again, according to the information collected, the problem should be “manageable” in Bahrain and not cause any major problems, thanks to the fact that the races will take place in Sakhir at late dusk.

The technicians intervened in the problem that emerged in Misano by positioning devices/fins inside the cooling ducts.

Work at the Racing Bulls pit during testing in Bahrain

A small hiccup of youth should lead the team to anticipate the first update of the VCARB01 already in Arabia, another not particularly fresh stage.

An update to the bellies that will also be visible externally – not only with internal changes to the ducts – as it should slightly change the aerodynamic appearance in the upper part.

Author: Rosario Giuliana

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang