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Monday, 6 February 2012

Red Bull Gets a Hole in One

So you may have been hibernating over winter but the F1 teams have been doing anything but that.

The designers have been wrestling with constraints as all good architects, product and industrial designers have to on a daily basis.  This year the challenge is among other things how to resolve the height differential between the new maximum nose height and the drivers comfortable and safe cockpit line.

McLaren have come up with the most elegant solution so far with a continuously variable curve taking up the differences.  The other teams have come up with a more literal resolution by adding a rather brutal step in levels or rather odd stepped nose.

However as ever Adrian Newey (OBE) has made a virtue out of a constraint.  There appears a vent hole where other teams have a solid step.  What otherwise merely disrupts airflow and gives a potential increase in pressure difference between upper and lower surfaces,  Newey appears to have channelled rearwards to aerodynamic effect. This may be the 2012 trump card.  It could be a way to claw back rear downforce otherwise restricted in the new rules.

How long will it be before the other teams get the hacksaw out to add the third nostril?  McLaren will struggle to do a similar thing with their more beautiful curvaceous design.  Of course as ever copying Red Bull will not be that simple.  We can be sure that the whole car works as an integrated unit and it is not a case of a retrofit any more than other teams could quickly follow their diffuser designs of past years.

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