the vettel era
It’s a virtuous circle. Red Bull Racing can
push the blown-exhaust effect further
than its opposition because of its driver’s
innate ability to understand and adapt to
it. And Sebastian Vettel is able to derive
more of a performance advantage from it
precisely because RBR feels comfortable
taking it to places others dare not go.
Paradoxically, a major factor allowing
RBR to go so far out on a limb with such a
generically unstable technology is the
stability and continuity of the family of
cars produced by chief technical officer
Adrian Newey and his design team. When
you’re pushing the envelope on such a
volatile, yet crucial performance parameter,
why complicate things by constantly
reinventing the wheel (as it were) when it
comes to designing the rest of the car?
More than any other team in F1, the
lineage between 2013’s Red Bull RB9
and ’09’s RB5 (the last Newey design not
to win drivers’ and constructors’ titles) is
as obvious as it is important.
“If you take an RB5, paint it white, then
take this year’s RB9 and do the same,
win, evolve, repeat
Key to ensuring each evolution pushes
the overall concept forward is Newey’s
reassuringly old-school philosophy on
designing racecars. While some other F1
teams work in the often mistaken belief
that a complex (read “unwieldy”),
aerospace-style design matrix will somehow
generate a winning F1 car, at Red Bull the
buck definitely starts and stops with Newey.
“It’s impossible for one person to do
the car from front to back,” he says,
“though I do try to be heavily involved in
the layout of the car and the general
philosophy behind it so that we hopefully
have a car that works as a package. In
that sense it is a holistic approach.”
But with new engine rules and aero
changes coming in for 2014, the next Red
Bull isn’t going to be an iteration on the
RB5-9 theme. It’s a clean sheet, and clean
sheets are where Newey often excels.
“The engines could well be the dominant
factor,” he says. “All we can do is our best,
and put our trust in (engine supllier) Renault
to deliver. If we both do our jobs well, we’ll
be there. If one of us doesn’t, we won’t.”
An evolutionary design approach gives Red Bull the platform to push the envelope in key performance areas.
you’d recognize one as a descendant
of the other,” says Newey.
That’s not to imply stagnation in
any shape or form. Instead, it’s taking
something that’s highly effective and,
year on year, increasing its effectiveness
by evolution rather than revolution.
“Key to pushing the overall
concept forward is newey’s
philosophy on racecar design”
(MAIN) Red Bull’s Adrian Newey is about
as hands-on as a modern F1 design chief
can be. (ABOVE) 2010’s RB6 was the
team’s first championship-winning car.