F1 Racing (UK) - - THE CHAMPION CARS - 2011

Adrian Newey joined Red Bull dur­ing a pe­riod of sta­bil­ity in the tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions, and spent his first three sea­sons there try­ing to en­gi­neer a change in work­ing cul­ture as much as im­prov­ing the cars them­selves. It was the ma­jor step change in 2009 – with new rules man­dat­ing wider, lower front wings and higher, nar­rower rear wings, with sim­pli­fied aero in be­tween – that let him es­tab­lish a new tem­plate for suc­cess.

“The timing of the reg­u­la­tion change was very op­por­tune,” Newey ex­plained. “We’d got to the point where ev­ery­thing was work­ing bet­ter and we could say: ‘Here’s the de­sign chal­lenge for this new set of reg­u­la­tions. Let’s get on with it.’”

A defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of Newey’s ge­nius is his abil­ity to re­spond cre­atively to a seem­ingly in­sur­mount­able chal­lenge. The first Red Bull chas­sis for the new era lacked the dou­ble-deck dif­fuser run by Brawn, Wil­liams and Toy­ota that de­liv­ered a use­ful dose of ex­tra down­force. To this day Newey be­lieves th­ese de­signs were il­le­gal, and were per­mit­ted only as part of a wider po­lit­i­cal play by then FIA pres­i­dent Max Mosley. But even as the fight over their le­gal­ity was in full swing, Newey was qui­etly work­ing out how best to retro-fit one to his car.

An­other chal­lenge was the fact that the Re­nault en­gine wasn’t the most pow­er­ful. For 2010’s RB6 and its suc­ces­sor, the RB7, Newey’s team found a cun­ning way to ex­ploit the ex­haust gas to boost down­force. Rout­ing the ex­haust exits via the dif­fuser to ac­cel­er­ate the flow of air through it had been done be­fore in F1, but the ef­fect was never con­sis­tent be­cause the flow tailed off when the driver got off the throt­tle.

Re­nault found a way to map the en­gine so that when the driver lifted off the throt­tle, the V8 con­tin­ued to pump air through the ex­haust. They called this ‘cold blow­ing’. They made the ef­fect more pow­er­ful by let­ting a small amount of fuel pass through as well, ig­nit­ing in the ex­haust it­self (known as ‘hot blow­ing’). This en­abled Red Bull to run their cars with an ad­van­ta­geous nose­down rake that ri­vals strug­gled to em­u­late.

Red Bull took both cham­pi­onships in 2010 as con­tro­versy raged over their car’s le­gal­ity. The ran­cour con­tin­ued into 2011 as Se­bas­tian Vet­tel won 11 of the 19 races in his RB7 – now equipped with KERS – and the FIA tried to close the blown-dif­fuser box, much to Newey’s frus­tra­tion.

“Reg­u­la­tion changes I en­joy; reg­u­la­tion re­stric­tions I rather lament,” he said. Car­bon-fi­bre com­pos­ite mono­coque Dou­ble wish­bones, pushrod ac­tu­ated tor­sion bar springs (front) and pull­rod ac­tu­ated tor­sion bar springs (rear) Re­nault RS27 V8 2,400cc N/A Red Bull 7-speed semi-au­to­matic 640kg N/A Pirelli Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, Mark Web­ber Adrian Newey

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