Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's hopes of victory in the Monaco Grand Prix have been boosted with their Red Bull Racing team giving the green light to use its new double-decker diffuser this weekend.
Design staff at Red Bull's Milton Keynes, UK factory have been working flat out for several weeks to get the new part onto the car, following the FIA's final approval of the concept prior to the Chinese Grand Prix. The pullrod rear suspension layout of the RB5 made it difficult to get the diffuser on the car in time for this weekend's event in Monte Carlo, but chief technical officer Adrian Newey confirmed on Wednesday that both drivers would be using the tweaks from first practice.
"Yes, we've got the double diffuser," said Newey, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the latest situation. "We are going to fit it on both cars, and see how we get on.
"We run load cells to try and measure the downforce of the car around the circuit, and if at the end of the session we have concerns then we will review the rest of the weekend. There is an element of risk in putting it on both cars, in terms of, does it perform as predicted by the wind tunnel? Is there a mechanical problem that we have not thought of that causes the cars to break down? But we've decided to take that risk – as we would rather find out about it.
"The other thing is that if we had only put it on one car, then Murphy's Law around here dictates that that will be the car that ends up in the wall on the first lap and we won't learn anything about it. That is why we will fit it on both cars."
Although double-decker diffusers have been viewed as a key to the early season success of Brawn, Newey is more cautious about the potential benefits his team will enjoy around the streets of Monaco.
"It should bring a bit [of an improvement]," he said. "It is a misconception that Monaco is a very low-speed circuit. Obviously in average lap speed it is, but there are some reasonably quick corners here, so downforce is important."
Webber, who finished on the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix, hoped the new diffuser would bring a performance step – but felt bigger benefits were coming from other areas of the car.
"Hopefully it's quicker," he said. "We want lap time from it. The honest answer is we don't know how much quicker it will be.
"It's another development item. There has been so much talk about double diffusers, but we've put more performance on the car in other areas than a double-deck diffuser."