Adrian Newey, the much celebrated areodynamicist currently employed by Red Bull Racing, has been feverishly busy with the rear of the RB5 ever since it was announced that the controversial ‘double diffuser’ was legal. Those who strictly followed the rules and their apparent spirit obviously chose not to design and install a ‘double diffuser’, and are now racing against time to get the part ready. Ferrari arrived in Barcelona this weekend with the first iteration of their diffuser, but Red Bull are struggling and may not even have the part in time for Monaco.
The problem that is plaguing Red Bull centres around their tightly constructed rear end – the suspension is sort of in the way at the moment. There is little doubt that the RB5 is a great car, and much of its superb handling comes down to the hard work that was put into ensuring the back as well as the front worked. Newey has incorporated a pullrod suspension into the RB5, which goes against the more common idea of using a pushrod suspension. While team admits it is unsure how much advantage they would lose by reverting from pull to push, they have ruled switching out and will press ahead with trying to implement a new diffuser while keeping the current workings as they are.
On the face of it, sticking with the pullrod suspension makes sense as it works with the car. The tapering of the sidepods allows air to move better over the mechanical parts and lower pullrod set up than it would with a pushrod system. Also, by having the parts sit lower on the car, the centre of gravity is lowered making for better handling.
The double diffuser concept doesn’t sit that easily with the packaging and aerodynamics of our car, so it hasn’t been easy to get a step forward in performance.[The pullrod suspension] is a benefit to the car, but we don’t know how much because we haven’t tried a pushrod suspension. We don’t know if we would gain more if we had a pushrod. The goal has always been how we adapt our car. Adrian Newey.
By sticking with the current pullrod suspension though, Red Bull may not be able to get their new diffuser until after the Monaco Grand Prix in a fortnight. Adrian Newey has stated that lack of testing is a problem and generally speaking you wouldn’t change such a hugely important part of the car without knowing that it works first.
We might well run one car on Thursday and then put it on the other if it performs correctly. One of the things that we don’t have is an aerodynamic test between now and then where we will be able to test it.
When you’ve got something that is as different as that on the car, you want to know that it is performing as you expect it to. Monaco is not a proper runway test! Adrian Newey.
As Newey stated, it could be that Red Bull run one car with the existing design in Monaco’s Friday free practice, and the other car with the new design for comparison purposes. Either way, Red Bull are having difficulty in adapting the rear of their car, although so far it is still performing well against the Brawn BGP 001.