Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has played down the possibility of his team deciding to officially protest the McLaren over its ingenious aerodynamic devices.
Horner expressed his unhappiness about the slot that McLaren has in its rear wing ahead of the first race of the season, although that area forms only one part of a package of solutions McLaren is using. As well as a very aggressive double diffuser, McLaren is also believed to be using an innovative concept of flowing air through a vent into the cockpit – where the driver can influence it to help stall the rear wing on the straight.
Although it is not clear how exactly the drivers are doing this, it is believed that they use their legs to help cover a hole in the cockpit tunnel – which changes the air pressure inside as it flows through the car and out the rear – before influencing the rear wing. If the wing stalls on the straight, it produces less drag - therefore providing the drivers with a straight-line speed advantage. This vent solution gets around the banning of movable aerodynamic devices because no part of the car moves – and the driver is not classified as bodywork.
Although the option of a protest about the design remains open for Red Bull Racing and other teams, Horner thinks his outfit will simply opt to now develop such a design concept itself.
"It is similar to the double diffuser issue [of last year], in that teams will pursue different variants of that wing between now and the end of the season," he explained. "I think that it's unlikely that we would protest it, so we would look at developing our own version."
The ability of rival teams to copy the design is somewhat limited, however, because F1's rules demand that the chassis tub itself is homologated for the season, so changes cannot be made for pure performance gains.
"You cannot change a homologated chassis, so you would have to go about it in a different manner," continued Horner. "But as it's deemed legal...engineers are creative people. I'm sure they will find another way of doing it."
Horner believed that the FIA's green light of the McLaren concept had potentially opened up a can of worms in forcing teams to now develop increasingly intricate designs.
"I don't think it's quite as big as the 'double-diffuser' but for sure I think you will see probably quite a lot of focus come in to those types of wings," he said.