Christian Horner forced to defend Red Bull’s legality again

Red Bull team principal again fights off questions over the legality of the RB7's front wing

By Gareth Llewellyn
christian horner
Christian Horner Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images, courtesy of Red Bull Racing

christian horner

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has again defended his team amid further allegations of potential rule breaking.

Red Bull’s rivals have questioned how the team were able to dominate the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, where defending world champion Sebastian Vettel was an impressive 0.8 seconds quicker than McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton.

That has resulted in some renewed questioning of the front wing on the RB7, a component that was rigorously investigated last season.

The FIA tightened the regulations on front wings in 2010 by increasing the load-bearings test to 100kg, but despite increased scrutiny the RB6 was approved and went on to win three of the last four races as Vettel became the youngest world champion in the final race.

Ahead of free practice in Sepang and amid further scrutiny, a clearly frustrated Horner said: “Shall I explain it in very basic words how it works?”

“McLaren have developed a car that has a very low rear-ride height, and therefore a low front wing for them doesn’t work.

“We run quite a high rake angle in our car. So inevitably when the rear of the car is higher, the front of the car is going to be lower to the ground.

“It is obvious science, and therefore our wing complies fully with the regulations. It will look lower to the ground because the rake in the car is higher, but it is simple mathematics.”

While McLaren has been able to improve their own fortunes for 2011 by copying Red Bull’s exhaust system, no team has yet been able to emulate their front wing capability without radically redesigning their cars.

“We take it is a compliment to be honest with you,” Horner added.

“I think our front wing has been tested more than any other in the pit lane, and it complies with the regulations, which is what we have to do.

“We don’t have to pass a McLaren test, we have to pass an FIA one, and it complies fully with that. McLaren have developed a car that is effectively a different philosophy to ours.

“So the benefit we see from the front wing is different to the one they would see, and that is the basis behind it fundamentally.”

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