Unveiling the new RB9 Red Bull
Racing car for the 2013 F1 world championship battle, Adrian Newey deployed the most over-used word of a week of car launches: "RB9 is an evolutionary car," he admitted.
Not only that, but Newey confidently predicted that the vast majority of teams would be adopting the same 'play it safe' strategy to car development in 2013, especially with so much work ahead of them with rules and regulation changes awaiting them in 12 months time.
Even so, it had been a close call for the team getting the new car ready in time for its launch in Milton Keynes on Sunday, February 3.
“It's a tribute to all the hard work of the guys over the winter because we had a very tight championship battle last year,” insisted Newey, underlining how much of a close squeak it had been. "It was difficult trying to continue development of last year's car while also doing research into the RB9. Obviously it worked for us, but it gave us a very tight timeframe to design and manufacture this car."
But Newey refuted suggestions that the lack of time between winning the 2012 world championship last November and the first 2013 pre-season tests starting on Tuesday had forced him and his team to play it safe, and pointed to his rivals up and down the F1 paddock who are adopting similar 'evolutionary' strategies.
"To be perfectly honest the only cars I've had a chance to look at pictures of so far are those of the Lotus, the McLaren
and the Ferrari," said Newley. "And they look to me to be relatively evolutionary cars as well."
The one car so far to buck the 'evolutionary' tendency so far is the Sauber, launched the previous day and sporting a significantly streamlined form factor, but Newey wasn't able to comment on that.
“Apparently Sauber has a very narrow sidepod but I haven't seen a picture of that,” he admitted. “We should really get out there and see but our philosophy has always been try and get on and do our own car and do the best job we can and think about next year, rather than spend too much time worrying about what the opposition are doing.
"We know what we believe we've done, but we don't know what everybody else has done," he added.
In any case, Newey pointed out that very often it was impossible to stop the really crucial changes on a car at a mere first glance: "The devil has very much been in the detail," he said, when explaining how the RB9 differed from its predecessor. "We tidied up some bits we felt could be improved on. It's a car in transition, as are all the cars."