It was only two weeks ago that everyone in the F1 paddock was putting the holes or slots in the floor of the Red Bull
RB8's bodywork just in front of the rear wheels under the microscope. But after those features were ruled illegal by the FIA last weekend, Red Bull
now look to have run foul of another technical infringement.
The latest storm brewing over Adrian Newey's cutting edge car design centres on the wheel hubs of the RB8, which appear to contain holes that channel hot air away from the brake ducts and onto to the outside of the front wheels.
Because the air is exiting over the wheels, they could be contributing a small areodynamic downforce advantage vaguely similar on a much smaller scale to the blown diffusers that cars used to run before that technique was ruled illegal. That would be in breach of FIA technical regulations which allow the ducts to be used only for cooling, and require that any part of the car contributing to the aerodynamic effects must be "rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car" and remain immobile relative to the rest of the car.
According to reports, FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting has now decided that these holes do break the regulations and that they must be changed before today's qualification session and for the race itself on Sunday.
Red Bull don't have replacement wheel hubs with them at Canada and therefore cannot simply switch in new components, reportedly leaving them scrambling to block up the holes in the existing wheel hubs for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
Otherwise, the team faces potential protests from other teams over the legality of the car, and ultimately risk ending up being disqualified from the race results.
Red Bull has once again insisted that any advantage gained by these holes is marginal, and that blocking them will make no significant difference to the car. They said the same thing about the holes in the bodywork that were ruled illegal last week, which they also said that they had not even been planning on running at Canada in any case.
Accusations that Red Bull
had clinched victory in Monaco in an illegal car had infuriated the race winner, Mark Webber.
"I'm happy to be called lots of things and I'm happy to have criticism about my driving and lots of stuff, but I will not take criticism in that respect," said Webber when asked about the matter in the Thursday press conference at Montreal, before the brake duct issue arose. "It completely p*sses me off to be honest, because the car has passed every single, every single technical regulation after the race."
German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
reported on Friday that Red Bull
has been using the cooling duct design since the start of the 2012 season. However, it's understood that penalties cannot normally be retrospectively applied to race results if an infringement is not found by official scrutineering and reported until after the official race classifications have been issued.