Newey predicts 'heavy effect' for diffuser limitations
6 July 2011 – This weekend’s British Grand Prix could mark a turning point in the 2011 season, with Formula 1 governing body the FIA bringing in significant limitations for exhaust-blown diffusers. For the first time, Red Bull’s Chief Designer admits that the restrictions could ‘heavily’ hit the championship-leading team.
‘Exhaust-blown diffuser’ relates to hot exhaust gases being pointed backwards when exiting the car, thus generating extra downforce to the diffuser, which is the single most effective car part for creating a strong contact force between the four tyres and the track surface. Up until Silverstone, a selection of teams had been tuning (or mapping) their engines to ensure that the same levels of hot gases exited the exhausts while off the throttle or under braking as when on full throttle.
As inventors of the blown diffuser at the start of 2010, Newey admits that Red Bull’s RB7 has been designed around the component and therefore could now struggle.
“I think we will be quite heavily affected because our car was designed around the exhaust in as much as it was part of the design right from the outset,” he explained to Reuters. “Probably - with the exception of Renault and ourselves - everybody else has, generally speaking, copied someone else's principal, mainly ours, and adapted to the car that they had pre-season.
“So it might therefore be, because our car has been designed around it, it's going to be more of a hit for us but it's very difficult to forecast.
“My read of it would be that, of our main competitors - which are clearly McLaren and Ferrari - then Ferrari probably haven't got their exhaust to work that well, so they are quite happy to see the back of it.”