This year Head of Aerodynamics Dan Fallows heads into his 14th season at Red Bull Racing and it’s a campaign that once again offers a competitive opportunity on the aero side thanks to a significant shift in technical regulations.
Maximising the performance potential such an opportunity brings is what continues to drive Dan, who says that the pursuit of a game-changing innovation is an annual quest.
“I would genuinely love us to come up with an aerodynamic innovation that is game changing, one that everybody has to adopt or they’ll be nowhere,” he smiles. “I have to believe that there is something out there we can do. We have a good department and a good team that is well equipped to exploit opportunities where they arise.”
Dan’s desire to find a competitive racing edge stretches back to his earliest days in motorsport. After graduating from Southampton University in 1996 with an MEng in Aeronautics and Astronautics he began work at Lola Cars as an aerodynamicist, working on a variety of endurance racing and IndyCar projects. He moved into F1 and, indeed, the very building where he now works, when recruited in 2002 by Jaguar Racing as a senior aerodynamicist.
When Ford announced the decision to cease involvement in F1, Dan moved to Italian chassis builder Dallara. He returned to Milton Keynes in 2006, working as a team leader in our aerodynamics department and making an invaluable contribution to the operation that over the course of the next eight seasons took eight world championship titles.
In 2014 he took on the role of Head of Aerodynamics and since then he has spearheaded the optimization of our cars’ aerodynamic performance in order to maintain the team’s ability to contend for race victories. And that process doesn’t stop when the car is rolled out at its launch.
"Ultimately, it’s never just about the car that you bring to the first test; it’s about how you develop that car, and it’s about making the right conceptual decisions early on that allow you to move further on as the season goes on. I’m never happy with our cars – even those that have been dominant – because I think if you ever were happy with them, the instinct might be to back off a bit.”
Finally, Fallows is sure that the RB15 will once again see the team play to its traditional strengths in the area of aerodynamics. “There are lots of different performance differentiators: aerodynamics; power unit; driver etcetera, but this is once again an opportunity for us to shine with the parts of the car we believe we are best at.”