RB13 in 2017 was never quite right from the beginning and model no 13 could have been an unlucky omen.
I learned something today on why Red Bull haven't been performing so well this season and also in 2017. It turns out they were compromised more in their aero dynamics than the other top teams as the FIA made some late rulings. The Ferrari and Mercedes cars are all different ,but don't have the design aspect Red Bull has and the changes they made actually penalized them.
In 2017 they made the cars slightly wider with wider wheels which didn't help their cars aero dynamics. Because the car was now closer to the wind tunnel walls they thought that having bigger barge boards would create more drag as the readings they were getting were not a true reflection in reality. The first few races of 2017 created serious issues as they were now lacking down force and this was only rectified properly just before the end of the season. I also read a report from Ferrari saying they got their car all wrong for the 2019 season and they wont make the same mistakes next year.
In 2019 the FIA made many changes which may have been a nuisance to other teams they were major for Red Bull. The list included the following changes, front wings simplified, blown axles banned, front brake ducts reduced in size and more importantly the barge boards were lowered. They started the season off averaging 1 second per lap slower than their main rivals which was roughly the same margin they experienced in 2017.
Red Bulls aerodynamics work differently to the others as their design is more like an arrow pointing downwards at the front rising towards the back end. The faster you go the downforce pulls the back end down creating a level car hugging the surface of the road. The faster you go the flatter the car sits making for a smoother ride.
We are talking about subtle differences here and this has taken a season to perfect the front wing. The arrows show where the changes happened for Brazil.
On this type of design the front wing takes on much more importance as it helps channel the air creating the underbody to be forced closer to the ground. This produces less drag and creates enough down force to stick in the corners even if the car is at a reduced speed. The technical nerds picked this up on the car that was racing in Brazil this season and this was a race they won. If you think back to Brazil this car was exceptional at taking the corners at speed and Verstappen overtook Hamilton on two occasions during the race both times in a long corner being able to hold the road with no problems.
With no technical changes they are in theory 1 second up from the start of last season and 2020 promises to be a good year for them. I had no idea how different these cars really are to each other as they look all the same to me in all honesty. I know they each have some secrets to hide, but had no idea the car set up was so different for Red Bull.