What happened with Red Bull at Sepang

There was a lot of talk in Malaysian about whether or not the RB4 was safe after it shattered in Friday’s practice session when David Coulthard went off in a 250 kph lefthander because the right front steering rod failed. The reason for this was said to be a bad bonding between the carbon part and the titanium fell apart.

"This part", Christian Horner said, "normally does 7000 kilometers."

The more worrying part of this was actually the aftermath of the accident because the Red Bull took a short cut over the runoff area it jumped over a kerb and lost both front wheels, a copy of the Scot’s accident with Massa in Melbourne.

In both cases the pushrod broke at 2.5 tons load at exactly the same spot. This is the area where the pushrod goes from wide to narrow, close to the chassis. According to our spies in Malaysia, the Red Bull is the only car that has the shim to adjust the spacers at the thinner part of the pushrod, which could be one reason for the failures.

Therefore, the stewards at Sepang asked Red Bull to prove that the construction is safe. 24 hours later Adrian Newey came up with ten pages of explanation. Overnight rig tests and simulations were done to prove that the pushrod can withstand 3.1 tons, in theory. But, reality showed that in both cases 2.5 tonnes were enough to crack the part.

In order to please the stewards the team changed the aluminium shim into a steel one and used a closed ring instead of a C-shaped one.

Allegations that Red Bull uses high modulus fibres for its suspension components were denied. That was in the past, Red Bull argued, and now more elastic fibres are used. The question still remains however as to why the car seems to disintegrate once it jumps over the grass or over a kerb from the wrong side, the same symptoms Timo Glock’s Toyota showed in his 220 kph shunt in Melbourne.

"These cars are made for racing, not for flying. No car would stay intact if it rides a 6 centimetre high kerb at 230 kph from the wrong side," Horner replied. Automoto365.com

Leave a Reply