W This is the first wake-up call to which the Competition has to look for an answer? The superiority of Sebastian Vettel at the European GP worries the competition. Not only because he beat Romain Grosjean for 20 seconds in 20 laps. Also because the tires on the Red Bull lasted longer than on the Lotus, which until then was considered the most tire-friendly car. And Vettel's pursuer Grosjean drove without traffic from the tenth lap.
While most of the teams are presenting their large technical package at Silverstone, Red Bull preferred its major facelift to Valencia. Side pods, underbody and exhaust were new. And completely new. When team boss Christian Horner speaks of 'small changes', that's a bad joke. Such a facelift brings teams like Sauber, Williams or Force India to the limits of their personal and financial possibilities.
Adrian Newey has refreshed an old idea with the completely redesigned RB8. The Melbourne version already had an air duct through the rear of the side pods towards the stern. Just a lot less extreme. The air then entered the bottle neck shape behind the indentation through a comparatively small hole and exited again about 30 centimeters later on the base plate. The air accelerated in the duct mixed with the exhaust gases blowing from above towards the edge of the diffuser. The first experiment was a failure. At the fourth race in Bahrain, Red Bull pasted up the holes again. The drivers had complained about a nervous rear end. Lo and behold: the driving behavior calmed down. Vettel won.
The new approach operates with larger entry holes that have moved further forward and end further back. There, where the entry of the side boxes towards the gearbox begins, two large rectangular openings can be seen just above the base plate on each side. The separate channels disappear under the cladding and lead towards the rear. Photos of the opened Red Bull show that all the cables in this area are encased in carbon so as not to disrupt the flow inside the car. At the level of the gearbox, the ducts reach the 50 centimeter zone. Its width is determined by the step in the underbody.
One of the two channels opens into the starter hole, from where the air is blown into the diffuser. That speeds up the flow. The other leads into a shaft between the rear light and the diffuser roof. The one exiting thereFlow helps the diffuser draw air from under the car. Both bring contact pressure. Sounds logical. But Newey's coup has another pleasant side effect. Perhaps it is even the main reason for this arrangement. As auto motor und sport explains in its current issue (issue 15/2012), the effect of the exhaust gases also benefits from this. The exhaust gases are blown to their destination in a more targeted manner. That improves the already good traction. In the first solution, the air flowing on the floor slab was a nuisance. It mingled with the exhaust stream. Newey has now arranged the entry holes so that air flowing along the side pods is sucked in there. And it ensures that it no longer emerges in the critical area, but much further back. The slightly lengthened exhaust duct with a different direction blows onto the edge between the underbody and the rear tire without any disruptive effects.
Since the principle of air passage is not new and has already been demonstrated by Red Bull, the competition is in this Direction have already researched. After Valencia she will probably have to intensify her attempts. Peter Sauber groans: 'For us small teams, this parallel development in the area of gray areas cannot be financed. There should never have been developments such as the blown diffuser or the rubber front wing. Now the FIA is required. If the FIA wants the field like this If you stay close together, you have to interpret the rules according to their meaning and not the wording. This is the only way to save costs. '