Adrian Newey has attempted to convince onlookers that the slot cut into the step of the new RB8 model's nose section has no use other than to aid cooling.
The slot was clearly visible in the artist's impressions of the car released at the time of Red Bull Racing's online launch, and remained the subject of conjecture as the covers came off the real thing on Monday, 24 hours before the car hit the track at Jerez.
Newey, who met journalists on day one of the first official group test of the winter to discuss the new machine and RBR's chances for the year ahead, was naturally quizzed on the development, which few of Red Bull's rivals appear to have included, but maintained that it had no trick application beyond keeping the RB8's internals and drivers cool.
"Traditionally, the driver cooling slot is always right at the front of the nose," he explained, "However, for styling as much as anything else, we moved it to where you now see it, just to kind of break up the aesthetics of the ramp that's required by regulation."
Newey admitted that wasn't happy with the way the 2012 rulebook had largely defined the front-end treatment of the cars, with a lowering of the maximum height of the nosecone driving the majority to incorporate a significant step between the nose and cockpit. Only McLaren has so far revealed its 2012 machine without a step, and Newey acknowledged that there was no point trying to avoid its inclusion.
"They're not particularly attractive, but performance has to come before aesthetics and this is no exception," he sighed.
The other major design change enforced since Sebastian Vettel claimed the second of his back-to-back world titles for Red Bull in 2011 is the banning of blown diffusers and re-siting of the exhausts - something Newey concedes may hurt Red Bull more than it rivals.
"Last year's car was designed around that, whereas perhaps other people copied ours and therefore hadn't designed the car around [it]," he accepted, "So, if you lose that, it stands to reason perhaps that you might lose more than other people. We've tried to work hard to mitigate that, but it's a lost technology and we can't reinvent it."