Adrian Newey has said that he believes the cars with the most effective weight distribution will be the most successful in the 2009 season. The new regulations for the season ahead require slick tyres as well as aerodynamic modifications, which will have a considerable effect on the balance of the car. The Red Bull Racing chief designer has designed the new RB5 with that in mind, he told autosport.com.
‘The main area of change with going back to slick tyres was in terms of weight distribution, as it will put greater strain on the rear tyres, so at the design stage, we moved the weight distribution forward a bit.”
Newey confirmed that the RB5 incorporates KERS, which is optional for the 2009 season. Similaraly, one of the issues associated with a conventional battery-operated KERS apparatus was its weight. Of the teams planning to use KERS, only Williams plan to use a flywheel system. Newey said:
“We use a battery storage system, which is heavy and therefore affects weight distribution on the car. After everything is packaged in the usual manner, driver, fuel cell, engine, gearbox, you then have to find somewhere for KERS, while maintaining fuel tank capacity and achieving the weight distribution target. RB5 carries its KERS in the base of the fuel tank.”
A more forward weight distribution normally emerges from a shorter wheelbase, which can also mean less rear downforce. This in turn means that the rear tyres will be under more stress, and the teams whose cars treat their rear tyres best are likely to profit from the new rules.