Whenever the Red Bulls run quickly, rumors quickly surface about the legality of their cars. Last year, the FIA was prompted by McLaren to verify the compliance of the Red Bull’s front wings on more than one occasion. The Red Bulls always passed their tests, even when the standards were made more stringent.
This year, the Woking squad has begun whinging about wings again, and Red Bull boss Christian Horner has decided he’s had enough of it. At Thursday’s FIA press conference in Malaysia, Horner let his exasperation show when the subject was introduced by reporters.
“Right, shall I explain it in very basic words how it works,” Horner said. “McLaren have developed a car that has a very low rear ride height, and therefore a low front wing for them doesn’t work. We run quite a high rake angle in our car, so inevitably when the rear of the car is higher, the front of the car is going to be lower to the ground. It is obvious science, and therefore our wing complies fully with the regulations. It will look lower to the ground because the rake in our car is higher. It is simple mathematics.”
In other words, if the Red Bull wing is low to the ground, it’s because the car is tilted, and not because the wing is flexing. Well, that would seem to be part of the explanation. To be honest, however, I’ve seen some videos on the internet that reveal that much of the controversial flex, not just with the Red Bulls, but with most of the cars on the grid, is coming from the basic nose structure, and not the wings. Apparently the wings are rigid enough, it’s the noses that enjoy a plastic effect.
McLaren isn’t exempt from this either. They to employ a flexible proboscis design. Their rancor seems to stem from the fact that Red Bull has managed to deploy the flexible nose concept more effectively than any of the other teams. Chalk up another deft ploy by Adrian Newey.
Horner went on to summarize his feelings on the subject by saying, “I think our front wing has been tested more than any other in the pit lane and it complies with the regulations, and that is what we have to do. We don’t have to pass a McLaren test, we have to pass an FIA one – and it complies fully with that.”
Got that, Messrs. Whitmarsh, Hamilton and Button?