It would seem that Red Bull Racing is unable to escape from the spotlight.
Just a week after being forced to alter its engine mapping settings after being at the centre of an investigation by the FIA at the German Grand Prix, the outfit is now at the centre of another row: this time over a ride-height adjuster that was discovered at the Canadian Grand Prix in June.
According to the latest reports, an FIA scrutineer discovered a manually adjustable lever on the team’s RB8, which could be used to quickly alter the front ride height and therefore gain an aerodynamic benefit in doing so. The device was reportedly in breach of Article 34.5 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.
The clause states: “In order that the scrutineers may be completely satisfied that no alterations have been made to the suspension systems or aerodynamic configuration of the car (with the exception of the front wing) whilst in post qualifying parc fermé, it must be clear from physical inspection that changes cannot be made without the use of tools.”
The benefit of the Red Bull system is that it was so easily accessible that the team could theoretically make ride-height changes to the RB8 without raising the suspicion of the FIA.
Not surprisingly, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has denied that his team ever took advantage of such an opportunity.
“It was something that could either be changed by hand or by tool, but the FIA said they preferred it was a tool that was used,” he said.
“Basically what was on the car on Canada has been on the car at other [preceding] races as well, but at no point has it been adjusted in parc fermé. It is question of whether you do it with a tool or manually, and it is done with a tool..
“We never changed the ride height in parc fermé or anything like that. It really is a non-issue.”
After discovering the device, the FIA stipulated that the team redesigned the level so it could only be operated with the use of a compliant tool. The team have adhered to this request, but it doesn’t detract from the obvious allegations over the team’s actual intent behind its original design decision-making.
Astute F1 fans will note that this is now the fourth known directive the team has had to follow from the FIA over the settings of the Adrian Newey-designed RB8 since the start of the season.
Previously, team was forced to redesign its floor after incorrectly-placed holes were discovered around its exhaust exits, and it had to change its wheel hub designs during the Canadian Grand Prix.