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Doubts mount over Newey's RB8 cooling slot claim

Red Bull Racing RB8 nose detail. Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 8 February 2012.
Driver cooling system?

Feb.17 (GMM) Two authoritative Formula 1 sources have admitted that they doubt that Adrian Newey was telling the whole truth about the air intake in the step nose of Red Bull’s 2012 car.

Designer Newey, the pioneer of the now-banned blown diffuser solutions seen throughout last year’s grid, insisted that the mysterious letterbox-slot gap in the RB8 is simply to cool the drivers with air.

But the aerodynamic expert’s explanation was met with some initial scepticism, amid speculation the monocoque air could also be flowing elsewhere for a performance benefit.

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“The drivers are going to get their feet wet when it rains,” a suspicious, unnamed engineer smilingly told Auto Motor und Sport.

Also unconvinced is Joan Villadelprat, a veteran former formula one engineer who has worked at McLaren, Ferrari, Benetton,  Prost and – more recently – headed the operations of the sports car team Epsilon Euskadi.

He wrote in El Pais newspaper: “Personally, I don’t believe Adrian Newey’s explanation that the opening is to refresh the drivers.

“If that’s what they need then Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber must drive half-asleep,” the Spaniard joked.

Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport speculates that the RB8’s inlet directs air underneath the floor, as per Ferrari’s innovative nose-slot of 2008.