Red Bull Racing is adamant that it is not running a trick form of active suspension and is prepared to protest any rival that tries to run such a system at future grands prix.
The qualifying pace of the RB6 this season has prompted suggestions that the outfit could be using a clever damper system to lower the car for its qualifying laps. There has even been talk in the paddock that Red Bull may be using compressed gas to push the car down for qualifying, before the gas is released – through time or a temperature change – to then allow the car to run higher for the race when a heavy fuel load needs to be added.
The team has consistently denied that it is doing anything like this, with the FIA giving the car the all-clear after a detailed inspection at Sepang on Saturday night. However, but rival teams, including McLaren, are looking at introducing their own suspension systems soon to improve their qualifying form. In response, team boss Christian Horner has warned that any design that changes suspension settings between qualifying and the race is illegal.
"We haven't got one, it is as simple as that," said Horner about the continued "active ride" suspicions that have circulated the paddock. If McLaren has one in China, we will protest them, because theoretically they are illegal. The FIA had a good look at our car [in Malaysia] on Saturday night and they are happy with it – they will struggle to find anything because there simply isn't anything there."
It is understood that the FIA is considering ending the prospect of an expensive spending war between teams creating complex suspension systems that help optimize the car for both qualifying and the race, by allowing outfits to make a single change to ride heights between Saturday and Sunday. Such a move would require a change in the technical regulations and therefore need unanimous support among the teams – something that sources have suggested is unlikely.
Horner said Red Bull would have no problem in backing the FIA's push, which would end all allegations about his team doing something clever with its suspension.
"I would support it, as it would probably save us a bit of money," he said.