In an effort to understand Adrian Newey’s genius, several Formula 1 pundits have scrutinized the Red Bull RB9 chassis for some clue as to why it is such a dominant car. What has Newey discovered that allows the car to generate such amazing downforce and grip? The BBC’s Gary Anderson thought he might have an answer when F1 decided to place thermal cameras on the cars.
Anderson, a former employee of the Milton Keynes team when it was Stewart Grand Prix, was watching the on-board thermal cameras, like the rest of us, and noticed there was heat at the floor section known as the “Tea Tray”.
Anderson speculated that Newey may have found a way to generate heat in that area which then raised the floor and increased the aerodynamic effect of the car. Gary said:
“If Red Bull have found a way to lift the ‘tea tray’ away from the track as it gets hot, that will enable them to run a lower front ride-height at low speeds, and will mean a more constant gap from the ‘tea tray’ to the ground through a wider range of vehicle speeds.”
According to Auto Motor und Sport, the FIA’s Jo Bauer took the theory very seriously and placed 300 degrees centigrade on the area in scrutinizing at the Indian Grand Prix and found that the floor did not rise under heat therefore deeming the car legal.
The quest for understanding goes on as teams try to discern Newey’s design and Force India have been part of the moving-floor conspiracy group who feel something special is happening with the Red Bull RB9—they’re right, it’s winning.