Newey: McLaren made huge leap copying us

Adrian Newey during practice for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 25, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.

Adrian Newey the brains behind some of F1's most winning cars

Mar.31 (PVM) Red Bull‘s design genius Adrian Newey has said that McLaren has made huge improvements by copying the pace setting RB7 and putting themselves right back in contention..

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel powered to victory in Australia at the wheel of the Red Bull RB7

Speaking during the RAC event where he was awarded the prestigious Segrave Trophy, Newey said, “McLaren made a huge leap forward by copying our exhaust, it has to be said. But the bottom line is they still made huge leaps forward. I am sure they will be pushing us hard”

The season opening Australian Grand Prix was dominated by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton the only driver able to keep the reigning world champion in his sights.

After the final preseason testing in Barcelona, a couple of weeks prior to Melbourne, it was doom and gloom for the McLaren team, who gambled on some radical innovations. But since then the Woking outfit have gone more conservative and in a clear sign of – if you can’t beat them, join them – have made a copy of the RB7’s exhaust system.

Adrian Newey

Adrian at work

Newey admitted, “We think it works for us. It seems it also works for McLaren. It is a form of flattery but it’s a bit of a pain if they then beat us with it.”

The other big talking point after the Albert Park opener was that the world champion team did not use KERS at all during the race.

But Newey is hoping that the team can use the boost-by-button system next weekend at Sepang. He explained, “If we feel it is reliable then we’ll try to race it. We’ll have to make that decision on Friday evening [after the first day of free practice in Malaysia].

“KERS is a benefit off the start line, so even if you are on the front row, without KERS there’s a risk that you won’t be first into the first corner,” pointed out the former Williams and McLaren technical guru.

Adrian Newey and Sebastian Vettel during day one of winter testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on February 1, 2011 in Valencia, Spain.

Adrian gest feedback from Sebastian Vettel during testing in February

Reuters report that Newey denied that the system was not used in Melbourne because it interfered with the car’s aero efficiency, “It’s not really a packaging problem as such. We have packaged it in quite an aggressive manner but that wasn’t the cause of the problem.”

“It was actually a relatively trivial problem but KERS is a complicated system, we have been trying to develop the element of it that has been giving us a bit of trouble ourselves and we’re not experts in that field,” added Newey.

On the night Newey was awarded the Segrave Trophy which is awarded to the British national who accomplishes the most outstanding demonstration of the possibilities of transport by land, sea, air, or water. The trophy is named in honour of Sir Henry Segrave and has been awarded in most years since 1930.

“To receive such an illustrious and distinguished trophy like this, it almost sends shivers down my spine when I look at the names that have received it in the past. I feel very honoured,” stated Newey.