Last year’s Adrian Newey-designed RB5 was arguably the best car on the circuit after the first third of the year. Designed with sophisticated airflow management in mind, and featuring a widely-copied vee-section nose (to further free up airflow under the front of the car) and a very tightly packaged rear deck, the RB5 kept pace with the BGP01 in the latter’s dominant first seven races, and went on to assert dominance when BrawnGP slumped in the middle of the season. Thus, along with Ross Brawn’s MGP W01, the 2010 Red Bull car launch was one of the most anticipated of the season.
Let’s have a look:
All images sourced from f1fanatic’s gallery
From above, it’s reasonably clear that the RB6 is an evolution of the RB5, rather than a completely new departure. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.) The sidepods narrow considerably at the rear, which retains the RB5′s pullrod suspension layout; this latter reduces the height of the rear deck and lowers the car’s CG, but is said to have interfered with the development of a high-volume diffuser for the RB5. The beam wing at the back is heavily sculpted, suggesting (here’s a no-shitter) plenty of interaction with the diffuser. Sidepod intakes are high and horizontal, which should surprise absolutely no-one. Looks like there’s some sculpting of the undertray’s leading edge around the turning vanes — which serve as mirror mounts, with the mirrors kicked out to the side a bit in comparison to the more centrally-mounted mirrors on other cars. Looks like the turning vanes are connected to the sidepods and the barge-boards.
At the front, we see the same sort of wide nose that the RB5 ran at high-downforce tracks last year, probably to offset the narrower 2010 front tires. The Newey vee-section is more aggressive and seems to start somewhat further back than last year. Mirror mounts and barge-boards are similar, and the front wing — which seems to act more like a diffuser than an airfoil outside of the standardized centre section — is last year’s end-of-season configuration.
From the side we see that the shark fin has a lot more area than before, and the exaggerated height of the nose is even more apparent. The sidepods start out undercut and end up — well, not so much slab-sided as just not there. Where most other teams are doing crazy things with the rear bodywork to vent heat from the engine, the RB6 seems to have everything closed off and slick to better feed air to the beam wing and diffuser. The front wing mounts are slightly raked forward, rather than vertical as on the RB5.