Red Bull denies trick suspension, will fight others who try it; Newey worried about F-duct safety

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Now that the celebration has quieted down following its 1-2 finish in Malaysia, perhaps Red Bull is feeling like suddenly a big target is on its back.

That’s one explanation for two stories coming from the camp. In one, Christian Horner is adamantly denying the team is running an active, or trick, suspension, and he’s prepared to challenge any team that does.

“We haven’t got one, it is as simple as that,” said Horner about the continued ‘active ride’ suspicions that have circulated the paddock.

“If McLaren have one in China we will protest them, because theoretically they are illegal. The FIA had a good look at our car [in Malaysia] on Saturday night and they are happy with it – they will struggle to find anything because there simply isn’t anything there.

According to Autosport, the FIA is considering putting a halt to any spending war before it starts by tweaking the rules to allow teams to change ride heights between Saturday and Sunday.

An FIA decision that would save teams money? Could it be possible?

And from another part of the RBR paddock, Adrian Newey says he is worried about the “safety” of the McLaren F-duct.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Newey said: “McLaren’s F-duct is intelligent and opens new ways. However I’m worried about the safety aspect. The system works by stalling the rear wing and getting rid of the load. To force a driver to make a sudden movement to change normal load conditions has to do with safety.”


“Many cars, including ours, have been re-designed around the double diffuser. The rhythm of development is high and the speed at which you bring new things remains fundamental.

“We are looking at the F-duct. We have understood how it works, but to get it to work properly is another thing. We don’t know when we can take it to the track.

“The difficult thing is that McLaren has designed the chassis around that system, but the rules prevent you from modifying the chassis. Every new thing has to be included in the current structure.”

That’s interesting. For one thing, Newey’s status as the preeminent aero guy has to lend his statements credibility; but when you couple it with his interest in having the F-duct made illegal, his impartiality begins to fade as fast as Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull off into the race lead.

But his statements about the rhythm of development are telling. I suspect the speed of innovation (especially now with no testing) is all during the off-season or before the previous season even ends. There must be model after model, with minor variations, coming alone at blinding speed.

Now, though, that’s a lot harder to accomplish.

Horner does say that, as things stand now, Red Bull is trying to get an F-duct on its cars. Although I’m sure the team would much prefer it be ruled illegal.

Anyone thing Newey’s “safety” concerns are legitimate? And does anyone think RBR isn’t playing with a trick suspension?


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