Christian Horner has revealed that misleading data from one of Red Bull Racing's two wind tunnel facilities probably contributed to the disappointing early showings of the Adrian Newey-designed RB3.

Launched amid a flurry of hype, the slightly radical-looking machine flattered to deceive as David Coulthard and Mark Webber struggled to top the midfield group in Australia and Malaysia. Bahrain showed more promise for both veterans, only to end in retirement with possible points finishes beckoning.

"We've had a few issues with the Bedford wind tunnel, with the calibration of that tunnel," Horner revealed in Barcelona, where the RB3 features a number of wise-ranging updates.

"We've learned a lot during the first part of the year. Having conducted runway testing has given us the opportunity to analyse what results the tunnel is giving and we've pushed the boundaries of CFD, so the upgrades that have come onto the car subsequent to Bahrain have been a mixture of areas that we've worked on within the tunnel and CFD. Basically, we've got a reasonable upgrade here aerodynamically and, mechanically, we've got a step forward with the transmission for this weekend."

Horner confirmed that the car's new seamless shift gearbox was running in Friday free practice, having been delayed by the late confirmation of which engine the car would be using this year.

"The team are working extremely hard, and the introduction of a new engine partner threw up challenges, but the whole group has worked methodically on this programme and the new gearbox ran over 1000 kilometres last week in testing," he said, "We are reasonably confident from a reliability point of view that there won't be any issues with it, which is why we are using it this weekend."

Webber was particularly frustrated at the results of the first three races, especially as former employer Williams not only scored points but duelled with the Red Bull cars at every round.

"There are no free meals in this game as it is very competitive and we were in trouble as the car didn't come out that well," he said. "You get checked out, how your team is performing, every fortnight, because of what you do on the track. Everyone can talk about what they are going to do and x, y and z, but that doesn't mean anything. We have to do the business at the weekends and the scores on the board tell you where your team is at."

The Aussie, however, was happier with what he found as the Spanish GP weekend opened in Barcelona on Friday.

"I was surprised that they made as much progress [with the gearbox] as they did in the time that they had," he admitted, "We are going to race it here for the first time and, touch wood, it should be okay for us. Even if you are on the fringe of the points, there is a difference between 13th and ninth, and you have to start taking a few risks to get some points.

"Obviously, they are all calculated risks, not suicidal risks, correct for us to get to the finish of this race. Gearbox-wise, it was very impressive from the guys and, obviously, Adrian is pushing hard on the aero and stretching production quite hard. It is a part of team where we need to improve a bit. But we are definitely going in the right direction, no doubt about it.

"In the last race, we were hanging out with the Renaults and they have just won two world championships. They are going okay today too, but it is so competitive and any small stuff-up means you are nowhere near the points. We need to get away from that middle group."

 

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