• Apr 3rd 2010 at 12:59PM
  • 24
Red Bull leads the Australian Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

Wondering how the new Red Bull RB6 has managed to outpace the competition by such an impressive margin? The team is winless so far this season, but has lead after claiming the pole in Bahrain and Australia. The failures come down to reliability, but everyone around the paddock has observed how much faster Red Bull is this season than the rest of the field.

The answer could come down to a variable suspension speculated to be part of engineer Adrian Newey's latest design. The system allegedly adjusts the ride height constantly over the course of the race distance, an advantage banned under current FIA regs.

For its part, Red Bull Racing denies any wrongdoing, but both McLaren and Mercedes-Benz – two of Red Bull's main rivals this season, along with Ferrari – have lodged complaints encouraging the FIA to investigate the equipment being used in the RB6. Conflicting reports from Switzerland and Germany differ on whether such an investigation is currently underway, but we could be looking at the latest "gate" affair to rock the paddock.

[Source: ESPN | Image: Paul Crock/AFP/Getty]


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  • 24 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't understand how it would be possible for it not to have been caught already, after all arent the cars inspected after each race?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's what I was thinking....

        I think it may be a case of the "Big Guys getting mad because they keep losing". Or who knows, RB could be cheating.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Honda raced an entire season with an illegal gas tank. They can't rip the entire car apart every time to inspect it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Never understood why they ban technologies that make the cars faster or maybe even safer. Instead of banning why not just make it standard for all the cars it can only result in more innovations that would end up in the showroom for normal vehicles or even supercars would it not?
        • 5 Years Ago
        cFoo: the FIA is just an example of what we're up against as a society.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't get how the guys that don't understand F1 get rated full stars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is exactly why F1 is a big farce. It's no longer about innovation. It's about restrictions, standardizations, and down to whoever has the biggest team of lawyers. Races are no longer won on the track, it's in the "court of appeal". I don't blame BMW, Toyota, Honda and pretty much now Renault for leaving this big farce. There is nothing in it for them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        FordGTGuy, if you want all things standard and focus entirely on the driver, then you can watch IndyCar.

        F1 has always been about the driver AND the manufacturer. Saying this though, there have to be standards and rules in place. Being a good manufacturer and building a competitive car is about taking the rules to the limit and finding ways to manage, not to make up the rules as you go.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I said standard meaning ever car would be required to use the new features not just the team with the "largest budget".
        • 5 Years Ago
        They say it's in the name of keeping costs down, but that of course is a joke.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because each F1 car is designed with different design philosophy at the outset and you can't just incorporate a "standard part" and hope it will go faster. Imagine if McLaren designed their suspension system to take advantage of their unique aero configuration -- it's possible that incorporating the RedBull suspension system would then make the McLaren perform even worse.

        At a more basic level, the problem with your suggestion is that you're mandating F1 teams to use "standard technology" in a way that turns F1 into more of a spec series than it is now. Why bother having the teams design their own cars then? Just mandate spec cars and have them go at it. This, of course, runs counter to the entire point of F1.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because racing is less interesting when the team with the biggest budget wins every race.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Quote: "What is so bad about that? If you make the car as good as it can be made and make it standard for all teams wouldn't it than be up to the driver and not the car to win the race?"

        I don't know how long you've been following F1, but since its inception F1 has always been a sport that focuses not just on the driver, but also on the manufacturer. This is why F1 gives out two championship awards at the end of the season: the WDC (world driver's championship) and the WCC (world constructor championship). For many of us long-time F1 fans, part of the fun is the divergent solutions each team comes up with when designing their own car. If I want to watch a spec-series, there are plenty of options out there. F1 is not one of them.

        With regards to the Red Bull's suspension system -- I don't really have an issue with the FIA banning this in that it's really more of a rules clarification than it is a technology banning issue. The regulations make clear that the cars cannot have active suspensions, so this is simply the FIA clarifying its regulation, IMO.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Red Bull Suspends your car?
        • 5 Years Ago
        haha! Can´t say you didn´t see that coming.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Kind of like the diffuser confusion last year. Turned out to be legal because of the wording put into the rule book. If it turns out that RBR is in fact legal because of their interpretation of the rulebook, watch how fast the other teams take on the suspension of RBR.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looking at the red bull car, I'm suddenly surprised at how fat the tires are. I guess when the vehicle is this light, the disks can be that much smaller and still do their job.

      And then I remember how much I prefer the handling of a fat-tired performance vehicle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All the cars use a standard 'fat' tyre on small wheels, though there's talk of 18" wheels next year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I heard that its just a mechanical ratchet that catches and fixes its height once the fuel load has reduced... Nothing automated about it?
      • 5 Years Ago
      nice
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems like a classic case of Ferrari and McLaren whining to me. Any suspension's ride height can be adjusted in a whole manner of ways from simple coilovers to shorter springs to different pushrod angles on a formula car. If RBR's figured out a way to do it that a) doesn't use a powered device or b) doesn't do it while the car is in motion, then it's completely legal.

      I think the main thing is that the other teams suspect that the RBR6 is doing something, and they can see it behaving beyond what it should (riding low in qualifying), but they don't really know what RBR is doing, so they're making a stink until they figure it out.

      The unfettered innovation in F1 (in spite of a lot of limitations) is why F1 is so great.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Courtesy of the FIA:

      "10.2.2 Any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of the suspension system is forbidden.
      10.2.3 No adjustment may be made to the suspension system while the car is in motion."

      I am going to assume that right away any system that RB has in place is not powered like the cars from the early 90s, as it has passed scrutineering (so far).

      That being said, where there is a possible loophole is in the second part where it states that it is the suspension system that cannot be adjusted while the car is in motion. Thus, if it is the suspension system itself that is controlling the ride height, without being adjusted, then it seems to me that there is no breach of the rules.

      And please, please, let's refrain from naming this "suspension-gate" or such nonsense. Because if it is a mechanical system like most experts are assuming, then there is no foul play, but instead great engineering. The only shame in this case would be on the other engineers outside of Red Bull for not thinking of it.

        • 5 Years Ago
        How about some yellow commemorative hats? They could be "Golden Gate Suspension Lids."
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