Red Bull engineers put regulation changes in perspective

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Ahead of today's unveiling of the new Red Bull RB13, a number of leading eningeers of the team have commented on the challenges of the vastly different set of aerodynamic regulations, as well as how they ended up with the new car's design.

"The first car I was responsible for at McLaren was the MP4/13 and that managed to win both championships," Red Bull's Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey said.

Pierre Wache, Red Bull Racing's Chief Engineer, noted "the change of regulations for 2017 is a really exciting aspect for an engineer.

"Compared with 2016, where it was more of an evolution, here you have to change everything on the car, review all the procedures you are doing and try to optimise the car performance on something you don't know. That's very, very exiting for an engineer."

The major areas of opportunity for designers come in the form of changes to the shape of the cars, as Chief Engineering Officer Rob Marshall explains.

"There are many new challenges, both for aerodynamicists and for structural engineers. It's been a long time since there has been anything quite so different coming out of F1, so we're looking forward to it.' Head of Aerodynamics Dan Fallows adds: "From our point of view, as an aerodynamics department, this new set of regulations is extremely exciting as we get a lot of freedom with regards to the areas of the car that can deliver performance. The car does look more aggressive and everybody around the factory is quite excited by that."

So excited, in fact, that according to Adrian Newey the biggest challenge with the design of RB13 came in deciding which conceptual direction to take.

"When you have big regulation changes like this, you always have more ideas than there is time available," he admits. "Like all teams we are resource limited. We can't pursue every single avenue we can think of and we have to try to prioritise. Whether we have prioritised on the right things or not time will tell."

"Clearly there will be different solutions up and down the grid and we need to make sure ours are the best," adds Marshall. "Hopefully we will be able to close the gap to the lead." The new rules mean that lap times are set to drop by between three to five seconds in 2017 and most of that gain, says Marshall, will come from improved cornering speeds.

"The increased downforce on the car means the car will be able to go around the corners quicker. However, along with that downforce comes increased drag so actually speed down the straight will be a bit diminished. That plays into the hands of the people who have the most powerful power unit, as they will be able to overcome some drag."

Wache, though, is hopeful that this year the team will continue the upward curve seen on power in 2016. "Our power unit supplier made massive progress in 2016 and they promise us the same type of progress for 2017," he says. "That gives us the opportunity to move closer and then hope that chassis differentiation will give us the opportunity to challenge for wins."