Tag Archives: RB6

FIA: Ride height control systems are illegal

Many teams believe that Red Bull are using a ride height controlling system

Many teams believe that Red Bull are using a ride height controlling system

The FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, has faxed all of the teams and notified them that any type of system that controls the ride height of the car while on track is against the technical regulations, and is illegal.

In the last few weeks, suspicions have been arising concerning Red Bull’s suspension system, after allegations that it can control the ride height while on track. There is suppposedly a device in the RB6 that allows it to be lower to the ground, and therefore gain a downforce advantage, in qualifying.

This device may take the form of a pressure-operated component, which keeps the car as low as possible to the ground as the fuel burns off. Because of the refuelling ban, the cars are full of fuel at the start, and without a ride height controlling system, this is the lowest they would be to the ground in the race. As the fuel burns off, the car would become lighter, and therefore rise, meaning a loss in downforce.

Since qualifying is low-fuel, all of the cars should be quite high up from the ground, since no modification to the car should be made in between qualifying and the race. However, Red Bull seem to have been able to run their car quite low to the ground in qualifying, and keep the car up when they put the fuel in the car for the race.

However, these are just rumours, and nothing has been proven or denied. The Red Bull RB6 cars were heavily scrutineered before the Malaysian Grand Prix, and nothing suspicious was found. Still, the FIA has found the need to clarify this issue, in case other teams try to use an innovation like this. Their statement reads as follows:

"Any system device or procedure, the purpose and/or effect of which is to change
 the set-up of the suspension, while the car is under parc ferme conditions will 
be deemed to contravene Article 34.5 of the sporting regulations."

Article 34.5 reads as follows:

If a competitor modifies any part on the car or makes changes to the set up of 
the suspension whilst the car is being held under parc fermé conditions the 
relevant driver must start the race from the pit lane and follow the procedures 
laid out in Article 38.2.

The only way Red Bull could change the ride height of their cars legally is by doing it during the pit stops. It is rumoured that Ferrari were going to try this method, but there is no evidence to support it.


Vettel’s new name for RB6

Last year, you may remember Sebastian Vettel’s RB5 cars being called Kate and Kate’s Dirty Sister. Apparently, he names all of his cars.

So, this year, it was no surprise to see him rename his new car, the RB6. This year, it will be called Luscious Liz!

No word yet on how he handles it!

Fake Red Bull exhausts spotted

The Red Bull RB6 with the fake exhaust below the rear wing

The Red Bull RB6 with the fake exhaust below the rear wing

The real exhausts, to the left of the Bridgestone sticker

The real exhausts, below the green pullrod

It seems as if Red Bull has been attempting to decieve the rest of the paddock, as it emerged today that it was using stickers to fake the location of its exhausts.

Over the last few weeks of testing, you may have seen the pictures of the RB6 with the exhausts apparently at the end of the engine cover, just below the rear wing. However, new pictures have revealed that these were just stickers, to cover the new technical innovation of their lower exhausts.

Their exhausts are actually at the very undertray of the car, just before the rear suspension. In the second picture, you can just about see it, to the left of the Bridgestone logo and below the painted green (for aerodynamic purposes) suspension rod. Clearly, this will have a balance improvement, with a slightly lower centre of gravity. Also, the amount of disturbed air on the pullrod suspension will be reduced, which is an aerodynamic benefit.

More than that, it would also bring in the idea of an exhaust driven diffuser. As I have already talked about, the RB6 uses a different strategy to enlarge their diffuser, by heightening their gearbox and retaining the pull-rod suspension. With an exhaust driven diffuser, the high speed gases can increase the power of the diffuser. When exhaust driven diffusers were used in the 1990’s, one main complaint was that the increase in downforce in the diffuser was proportional to the throttle position. Now that the double decker diffuser is higher up (slot feeding diffuser on top, hence increased height), the sensitivity of the diffuser is decreased.

I can’t fully prove this theory, as Red Bull will never talk about their innovation. However, if it is what I think it is, this new creation could be nearly as important as the horned nose from Red Bull last year.

Red Bull RB6 released

The new Red Bull RB6

The new Red Bull RB6

The new Red Bull car, the RB6, has been revealed at the Jerez test today.

The team have missed the first test session last week in Valencia, a risky move. Christian Horner, the team principal, explained the new changes on the car:

“The RB6 is very much an evolution of the 2009 car. We tried to refine and evolve it rather than go to new concepts.”

“As a result, the car looks similar with elements such as the chassis and pull-rod rear suspension retained. The two main challenges were the larger fuel tank and the smaller front tyre. With the fuel tank, there was more to it than simply putting a bigger tank in the car – it puts more load on the brakes, so the brake cooling has to cope with that and you also have to consider what effect that extra fuel will have on the tyre degradation early in the race and if there’s anything we should change mechanically to cope with that.”

“The narrower front tyre changes weight distribution and the balance of the car. I think it’s a sensible evolution of the 2009 car. One obvious difference is that the 2009 car was not designed to suit a double-diffuser and we had to try to put one on as best we could around the existing rear suspension and gear box. With this car we’ve been able to design that part of the car from scratch.”

The livery is exactly the same as last year, but that’s not a bad thing, as it still looks great. The car, on the outside, looks quite similar, but with a few small changes. Parts of the front wing sections has been lengthened, the horned nose section has been revised, and the bargeboard section has been changed.

The fact that there is no significant change worries me a little, but considering how dominant their car was in the last 3 races of last season, the team should still have high hopes. Mark Webber talked about their expectations for the season:

“I think the team has some very good, high expectations,” he said prior to his first run in the car. “We had a great season last year and we are not looking to go backwards from that position, so we have some tough goals to meet – as do all the other teams.”

“To go forward from there we need everything right and that’s what we’ve tried to do as best we can. We are very excited, we’ve worked hard and there’s been a lot of anticipation.”

Christian Horner talked about the team’s challenge, and said he expects a 4-way battle for the championship:

“I think that 2009 was a massive year for the team,” he said. “We made a huge step forward. I think the group matured very well.”

“You have to remember that Red Bull Racing is still a relatively young team, so I think with the lessons that we learned in 2009 about the performance of the car and how that evolved during the season, plus the stability we’ve had throughout the winter, we are in good shape for 2010.”

“Our target is obviously to win the championship, but we totally respect the quality of the opponents we have. We have set ourselves very aggressive targets.”

“I think you are going to have four teams that are race-winning contenders this season. McLaren and Ferrari look like they have come up with good cars, and for sure the Mercedes GP team is going to be competitive with its driver line-up.”

“But we are quietly confident we’ve made good progress during the winter. We’ve kept our heads down. We’ve kept working on the concept that served us well last year – and Adrian and his guys have come up with another very good car.”

“We go into the year with continuity with the drivers as well. Sebastian [Vettel] matured very well in 2009 and got stronger and stronger throughout the season, and Mark [Webber] is now back to full fitness – which compares to 12 months ago, when he was carrying a nasty injury.”

There is a good summary of photos, with a video on YouTube:

Pictures from the launch: