Newey wary of late Mercedes launch
17 February 2012 – Red Bull's Adrian Newey is currently pondering whether or not German rivals Mercedes could be hiding some unique car features ahead of the 2012 season, with the highly successful designer being informed that the Brackley-based squad was ready to roll out its new machine at the opening Jerez test, but instead chose not to.
With a raft of technical changes being ratified for the upcoming campaign, exploiting areas such as the nose cone and exhausts have become key talking points. The W03, which will be driven by Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, was rolled out at Silverstone on Thursday, with a dropped 'platypus' nose clearly on show.
"I was told by the German press, whether this is true or not, that the car was ready to run at the last test but they chose not to and why would that be?," Newey told Reuters of Mercedes' plans. "I said I've got no idea but why you might choose to do that would be if you had some feature on your car which you think is a big benefit and which is relatively easily copied. I'm not saying that is the reason, but it's a possible reason."
Newey went on to admit that Red Bull may have benefited from such a launch plan in 2011, with their exhaust package being copied by McLaren in time for the first race.
"Last year where we put our exhausts on from the first test and McLaren had managed to copy (us), by their own admission, by the first race,” he explained. “I guess with hindsight we perhaps should have delayed that a bit longer."
With Mercedes opting to use its 2012 challenger for the final two tests, Newey said focus could turn to the design if it makes an impact on the timing screens.
"If it goes three seconds quicker than anybody else, yes of course," he added. "Other than that, simply because its later doesn't mean to say you are going to show more attention at that than anybody else's.
"Of course you do look at other people's cars but I generally find that it this time of the year actually the main thing to do is try and understand your own car rather than worry too much about what everybody else is doing."