Newey expects most teams to have ‘evolutionary’ cars

2013 F1 season

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Red Bull RB9Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey expects most of the team’s rivals to have “evolutionary” cars this year.

He described the RB9, revealed today, as a progression of the car they finished 2012 with.

“To be perfectly honest the only cars I’ve had a chance to look at pictures of so far are those of the Lotus, the McLaren and the Ferrari. And they look to me to be relatively evolutionary cars as well.”

“Apparently Sauber has a very narrow sidepod but I haven’t seen a picture of that,” he added. “We should really get out there and see but our philosophy has always been try and get on and do our own car and do the best job we can and think about next year rather than spend too much time worrying about what the opposition are doing.”

Newey wouldn’t be drawn on whether future upgrades for the RB9 would include a ‘passive DRS’ – “using some speed-sensitive device, whatever that might be, to augment the DRS effect” – which is allowed under the rules.

“It’s, for sure, an interesting area. It’s also, for sure, a very tricky area. Getting a signal that’s reliable, that withstands following another car without being triggered at moments that would be embarrassing, let’s say.

“To make sure that overall it is, once you’ve taken into account installing it and so forth, a positive gain on balance through the weeekend. None of those things are astraightfoward. So we have investigated it. I’m not prepared to say what we may or may not do during the season.

“It’s a very interesting area, an area that’s there to be explored. Actually deriving lap time benefit out of it – more to the point, points benefit out of it – is less straightforward.”

However he indicated which areas of the car were likely to see the most development in the months ahead:

“The front of the car, the nose, front wing can be changed relatively easily as developments.

“The middle of the car, the gearbox, the rear suspension, that’s the bit that really would be a huge effort to change during the season. So that’s the bit you want to ensure is as good as possible. The rest you can develop as the year goes on.”

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Keith Collantine
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16 comments on “Newey expects most teams to have ‘evolutionary’ cars”

  1. The more I hear about this ‘Device’ thing, the more I think that if someone gets it right and that provides significant advantage, it will be very hard for others to catch up as it’s not ‘visible aero part’ and need some carefull tuning …
    But it is so tricky to have it right, specially taking into acount every change in the environment, that I don’t see a huge advantage coming from there.

    1. @jeanrien

      Lotus certainly seem to be putting their eggs in that basket, Honestly… I doubt that they can make it effective, it just seems so overly complicated. But if, just if they can actually make it work, then that would allow them to run massive amounts of downforce on the car, and therefore probably turn it into quite a nifty car.

      Having said that, if it doesn’t work, then it’s just a lot of wasted resources.

      1. @mike – I wouldn’t say overly complicated, rather overly sensitive. On any tracks with fast corners they’d have to be very weary to ensure it was correctly calibrated, so as to prevent a loss of downforce and the subsequent crash.

        I don’t know whether it would be possible (perhaps it would breach the moveable aerodynamic parts regulation) but why don’t they have a g-force sensitive switch also, which would prevent deployment mid-corner but as soon as they were on a straight they dump all the drag? If that was possible under the regulations then that team would gain a huge advantage, particularly in the races.

        1. @vettel1 Indeed doing such system is pretty easy in wind tunnel with a steady flow and so on. But that’s quite far from being the flow the car feels and it’s where it gets tricky to have it activated only at certain moments which don’t putt the driver at risk.

          for the g-force sensitive system, it’s quite difficult to know as it is legal : this will be an internal piece so not really aero related (not in the first place anyway) and won’t be driver operated (as was the f-duct) and that would probably be the best way to avoid the activation during a corner. Having a moveable part which is stuck while there is any sideway’s g and free where there is none … Next difficulty is to get it back in place before turning but that could be through inward deceleration and acceleration to release it or not.

          In that case, I join you to say it would be much easier (or rather less difficult) to have it right and safe while gaining huge advantage, specially now that DRS use is so limited.

          I’m quite curious about that, even if I don’t expect it to be a huge factor in the first few races

        2. According to the comments about the difficulties to come up with such device I guess the moving part is not an option …

    2. Yeah. And if I recall correctly James Allison said that Lotus realized rather soon that the whole car has to be more or less designed around the system to make it really work.

      Lotus definitely has a significant head start if the device turns out be any relevant in terms of performance.

    3. Having heard the comments of Ross Brawn and now Newey on the passive DRS, I think the actual gain people are likely to get out of it is negligible. It certainly sounds like a part that only the big teams with a lot of man power and resources are going to be able to bother developing, if it is so difficult to get right.

  2. I Love the Pope
    3rd February 2013, 15:49

    I’m tired of aero-only cars. It only took two years, but I think we need more creativity and competition. Unfreeze the engines and deregulate everything else, traction control included, BUT impose a spending cap too.

    Could it be done? Probably only in my dreams.

  3. It does sound to me from those comments that RBR have been modelling a passive DRS and discovered that it could get triggered by external factors.

  4. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
    3rd February 2013, 17:54

    Sadly i think the other teams might as well spend a year at home because this is another world beater. For instance look at the back all the teams have slimmed down the body work at the back of the car this year, redbull however have simply thrown it away there’s nothing there.

    1. It looked like that last year, too. Just saying. :)

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        4th February 2013, 14:31

        teams like ferrari and mclaren are now running similar rear body work to last years redbull maybe a step further. Redbull this year is clearly a further step forward on that. Just saying.

  5. I’ve read comments on it from Gary Anderson on the Beeb though and he’s not entirely convinced. I have a feeling the lack of a pull-rod front suspension could be costly, especially as Ferrari were able to harness its potential. It also doesn’t really look any different other than a few minor details, people also forget it wasn’t the fastest car for the majority of the season anyway. Red Bull could be behind McLaren, Ferrari and maybe Lotus and Mercedes by the end of the season, though should be quick out the starting blocks as they will probably be able to understand the tyres quicker than the others.

  6. Why don’t they just throw a party instead of showing a prototype while nobody is allowed to take pictures and they tell nothing new?

    Ok, I did learn one thing: Newey didn’t watch the Sauber launch. Spending time with the family? Frantically making adjustments based on the other launches? Or avoiding follow up questions?

  7. “To be perfectly honest the only cars I’ve had a chance to look at pictures of so far are those of the Lotus, the McLaren and the Ferrari. And they look to me to be relatively evolutionary cars as well.”

    Red Bull went to extreme lengths to keep the rear end of the RB9 hidden. The other teams were less-extreme about it, but did take measures to prevent details of their exhaust arrays leaking. So why is Newey commenting on what they have done when he hasn’t seen the complete version of the car and the teams have actively tried to prevent him from seeing it?

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