Adding double diffuser was 'huge', says Newey
Adrian Newey has explained that the job of incorporating a double diffuser to the Red Bull RB5 was a mammoth task in the first months of the season as the car has not been designed to include such a feature. Since redesigning the rear end of the Renault-powered car, the Milton Keynes squad has launched an aggressive attack on Brawn GP for the championship.
With Brawn, Toyota and Williams achieving an initial jump on the field with their innovative, downforce-friendly designs at the beginning of the season, Red Bull was one of a number of teams to introduce such a feature later in the championship, with the first version of its 'double-decker' apparatus appearing in Monte-Carlo.
"It was a huge amount of work as the car wasn't designed to work with a double diffuser and, in particular, it wasn't an easy marriage with the pull rod rear suspension," explained Red Bull chief technical officer Newey. "We decided we didn't have the resources to redesign the gearbox and rear suspension to better suit the double diffuser concept, so we kept the existing mechanical package and adapted as best we could; the first attempt was our Monaco package, which was a small step that didn't work as well as we would have liked. The second step was then introduced for the British Grand Prix."
The latter worked miracles and the car is yet to be beaten since the introduction of the new component, putting more emphasis on the battle between the two leading teams' technical teams, headed by Newey and Ross Brawn respectively. "It took up a lot of my time and during that intensive two month period I was less involved with the rest of the car than I would normally have been, but we were able to handle our usual development in parallel," 50-year-old Adrian continued.
With a ban on running cars on circuits outside of race weekends in 2009, analyzing on-track performances is limited to the practice sessions of race weekends as well as taking crucial data during qualifying sessions and the race itself. "When you introduce something without testing, you are reliant upon your research tools: wind tunnel testing primarily, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and simulation to a lesser extent," Newey explained. "As we are now introducing new elements at race weekends, if we have stepped in the wrong direction by a small amount it's hard to notice, as we are unable to do back-to-back testing to quite the same level as we used to; but we do use the Fridays of a Grand Prix as a test session as well as for preparation for the rest of the weekend."