If Redbull Formula One buy their engines off Renault and have no input into design and integration, why do they consistently perform so much better in the races?

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If Redbull Formula One buy their engines off Renault and have no input into design and integration, why do they consistently perform so much better in the races?

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Honda supplies their engine until the 2022 season when Redbull will take over engine production.

Because it’s not just the engine that makes a race car, aerodynamics, transmission, computer programming, and a heap of other variables that come into play when factoring a cars Performance. Drivers is also another major contribution to performance.

What you are referring to is called a ‘works team’ where a particular team works closely with an engine supplier to integrate the engine with the chassis perfectly. Where-as other teams that run that engine are called customer teams, because they get the engine as-is and don’t have any say in the design.

In F1 it’s not just about the engine, or the wings, it’s about which team make the best package combining the engine, aero, suspension, driver, and other factors to make the best car overall.

Red Bull is currently a works team for Honda, and will soon be making it’s own Honda based engines in house dubbed Red Bull powertrains.

While in previous years Red Bull was a customer team of Renault until Renault sold their team to Genii capital (becoming Lotus) at which point Red Bull became the defacto works team until Renault bought their team back from Genii in 2016. (and becoming Alpine as of this year)

Even while they were a customer team Red Bull still punched above its weight. This is mostly attributed to chief designer Adrian Newey, who is considered a genius in terms of chassis design and aerodynamics and is arguably the best in the business. Newey designed cars have won 10 F1 championships in the past 30 years, more than any other designer. Followed by Rory Byrne with 7 (Ferrari, Benneton), and Paddy Lowe 7 (McLaren, Williams, and Mercedes)

Most of the cars on the grid today heavily borrow ideas that were pioneered by Newey and his team.

But in reality it was a team effort, Red Bull made significant investments in both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams, hired the right people, and aced the regulation changes in 2010-2013 (being the team to make the best package based on the rules at the time)

Red Bulls secret weapon was exhaust blowing, figuring out how to shoot exhaust gases between the rear crash structure and the tire to help seal the floor to the ground which made the rear diffuser more efficient, and therefore generate more consistent downforce. Other teams copied this idea, but none of them were as consistently good at it as Red Bull.

The change in engine rules in 2014 now forces the exhaust to come out a single pipe from the turbo down the center line of the car which functionally made exhaust blowing illegal.