Two authoritative sources have admitted they doubt Adrian Newey was telling the whole truth about the air inlet in the ‘step’ nose of Red Bull’s 2012 car.
Designer Newey, the pioneer of the now-banned blown diffuser solutions seen throughout last year’s grid, insisted that the mysterious letterbox-slot gap in the RB8 is simply to cool the drivers with air. But the aerodynamic expert’s explanation was met with some initial scepticism, amid speculation the monocoque air could also be flowing elsewhere for a performance benefit.
“The drivers are going to get their feet wet when it rains,” a suspicious unnamed engineer smilingly told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
Also unconvinced is Joan Villadelprat, a veteran former formula one engineer who has worked at McLaren, Ferrari, Benetton, Prost and – most recently – heading the operations of the sports car team Epsilon Euskadi. He wrote in El Pais newspaper: “Personally, I don’t believe Adrian Newey’s explanation that the opening is to refresh the drivers.
“If that’s what they need then Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber must drive half-asleep,” the Spaniard joked.
Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport speculates that the RB8’s inlet directs air underneath the floor, as per Ferrari’s innovative nose-slot of 2008.