Adrian Newey’s decision to wait until the second 2010 test in Jerez may prove to be a wise if those extra nine days of wind tunnel and development work on the RB6 prove to have made the difference, but if nothing else, he kept everybody guessing. And by not showing the car until just before it first ventured into the pit lane, he has given everyone else even less time to analyse and copy it!
The car certainly looks the part, full of the little details and nuances you expect from Newey. Crucially of course this year he has been able to design it around the double diffuser concept from the start, and given how close the team came to taking last year’s title without that advantage, the opposition must be worried.
Newey isn’t giving much away for the moment, and he insists that it’s evolution, and not the revolution that some might have expected. But that is probably the best way to go about winning the 2010 title, given that there are some pretty major rules changes to deal with.
“The RB6 is very much an evolution of the 2009 car,” he says. “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 gearbox. With this car we’ve been able to design that part of the car from scratch.”
The key thing now is that Webber and Vettel get in as many dry miles as possible during a test that has already been compromised by rain. Only 11 days of testing left…