Over the weekend, Red Bull’s rivals — mainly McLaren — raised the issue of the team’s suspension and whether it allowed for an adjustment in ride height, a bit of mechanics that seemingly would not be allowed in Formula 1.
(As Todd pointed out in his post on this: “A team that could lower the ride height during a light-fueled, low weight qualifying configuration would be faster. Cars with lower ride height are aerodynamically more efficient and it would present a distinct advantage in lap timesâ€”certainly qualifying.” And that’s why my MINI is going to out-perform his Mazda 6, or even Grace’s Mazda 3, any day!)
Well, today, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is welcoming a clarification about the rules regarding suspensions, as he told Autosport.
“McLaren has made a lot of comments recently, be it about our fuel tank size or the future of our drivers and now supposed systems on the car,” Horner told AUTOSPORT.
“Categorically we don’t have anything like that on the car. It is down to them to speculate, but a clarification would be good for everybody.”
According to Autosport, the suspected “trick suspension” might work as follows:
Rival outfits suspect that Red Bull Racing is doing something clever with its suspension – perhaps through the use of gas-filled dampers – that helps give the team a lower ride-height in qualifying for an extra boost of speed.
One theory is that the gas pressure helps push the car down for its optimum ride-height with low fuel for qualifying, before releasing the pressure prior to the race so the car lifts back up â€“ allowing its starting weight of fuel to be added without the car bottoming out.
I think it is a bit brave for Horner to come straight out on this, as the team really doesn’t need any more work on its plate. It has plenty to do to fix its reliability problems. Of course, to paint a rosy picture for Red Bull, maybe if the team was forced to alter its suspension it would, in the process, find out what the heck is wrong with Sebastian Vettel’s car.
In the end, Horner probably hits the nail on the head when he notes: “Ultimately we tend to ignore comments from other quarters, but it demonstrates we are doing something right that they have a need to.”
If Red Bull weren’t fast, no one would care about the ride height.
Does anyone think there’s more to this than the other teams trying to mess with Red Bull a bit?