David Coulthard reckons that Red Bull Racing’s decision to delay the launch of their 2009 challenger in order to complete the design process will actually be to the team’s advantage.
The bulk of the 2009 Formula One grid will be unveiled in the next fortnight as the major teams begin pre-season testing. However, Red Bull have delayed their launch until 9 February.
Speaking at the Autosport International Show Coulthard said that in the context of the new regulations it will actually be more beneficial for esteemed designer Adrian Newey to focus on car design at this stage rather than to focus on testing.
Forumula1.com was present to hear what Coulthard had to say:
On Red Bull Racing’s 2009 challenger the RB5:
“In terms of Adrian’s decision to work longer in the design process before committing to manufacturing, if you have a quick car and it can be made reliable then it doesn’t matter how early you have it out in testing.
“My view is that you find out where you are with your mechanical package in terms of springs, ride heights and what-have-you fairly quickly. And very rarely does changing a spring package make the car go significantly quicker.
“You might optimise it for that track on that day, but the headline elements to make a grand prix car go quickly are driver confidence – because there’s no question that when you’re confident that unleashes lap time performance – aerodynamic load and efficiency is a key area, and making the tyres work.
“So if the car comes out having used the extra time to develop further and it performs, I think this could be a very strong year for the Red Bull Racing team.”
On engine equalisation:
“Towards the end of last season Toro Rosso were able to out-perform Red Bull Racing in many cases, but I think the fact that there’s been a publicly acknowledged upgrade to the Renault engine by the FIA and accepted by the other manufacturers completely confirms what we were saying – that there were some differences,” said Coulthard.
“During the year when we asked the question that we think there might be some differences in engine performance, people might see that as an excuse. You now know it wasn’t an excuse because it’s been validated as a necessary change going into 2009.”
On the 2009 playing field
“The bottom line is that you would be brave to bet against the usual suspects setting the pace, but I think there is an opportunity for Formula One to be a lot closer this year,” he said.
“Even your classic back of the grid teams like Force India, now with their McLaren package, why would you not reasonably expect them to be capable of finishing in the top six and maybe getting podiums?”
Credit: With kind thanks to Autosport