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  Red Bull Racing RB7 Renault
 

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Country of origin:Austria
Produced in:2011
Designed by:Adrian Newey for Red Bull Racing
Predecessor:Red Bull Racing RB6 Renault
Successor:Red Bull Racing RB8 Renault
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 28, 2011
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Click here to download printer friendly versionConsidering the raw pace of the RB6, it took Red Bull Racing much longer to secure both titles in 2010 than seemed strictly necessary. The Adrian Newey designed machine was easily the quickest from the first race and throughout the year the rivals worked overtime to incorporate some of the features that they believed made the RB6 so fast. Reliability issues hampered the car until for much of the season but they were ironed out when it mattered most.

Several major rule changes ahead of the 2011 season meant Newey and his team once again had their work cut out for them. One of the key elements of the RB6's success was the intricate double diffuser, further optimised by routing the high speed exhaust gasses over it. The new rules have eliminated the loophole that had original allowed for these 'double diffusers'. Other major changes include the return of the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), a moveable rear wing to help with overtaking and a switch to Pirelli rubber.

Just like the RB6 had been an evolution of the RB5 used in 2009, the new RB7 is once again an evolution of the previous year's design. The new-for-2011 rules have resulted in some visual changes like the much simpler diffuser and the shorter fin on the engine cover. Other than that the family lineage is still very clear. The unconventional rear pull-rod is also again part of the package and two years after it appeared on the RB5, several other teams have followed Newey's example for 2011.

Despite talks with Mercedes-Benz, Red Bull Racing has maintained its engine supply deal with Renault. Because of the freeze in engine design, the 2011 specification of the 'RS27' V8 features no major changes. That means it is still down on power compared to the Ferrari and Mercedes engines. It is however much more tractable out of low speed corners, which particularly suits the Red Bull design.

In 2010 the team opted to sit out the first official test session to develop the car further. Despite the very long season, the RB7 was ready to join its rivals at the very first opportunity. Like its predecessor, the new Red Bull was quick straight out of the box. The key word during testing was 'exhausts' and exactly where they were pointing. On the RB7 they were initially simply sticking out of the bodywork just above the floor. The final design, however, featured slightly longer pipes, very specifically aimed at the diffuser to create maximum downforce.

As with all of Newey's creations, aerodynamic efficiency was the primary objective for the RB7 design. How little he was prepared to compromise was revealed after the season opening Australian Grand Prix. Instead of adjusting his design, he demanded the KERS bits (battery, motor and ancillaries) to be modified to fit the car. This has resulted in some cooling related reliability issues, which forced the team to remove the system altogether after the first day of practice.

Topping two of the three practice sessions with quite a margin, the RB7 immediately made its mark. In qualifying 2010 world champion, Sebastian Vettel, was simply unstoppable. He was nearly eight tenths of a second faster than his closest rival, even though he did not have the benefit of the 80 bhp KERS system. He continued that form in the race and scored that all important victory in the season opener. Team-mate Mark Webber was off the pace, which was most likely down a problem with the chassis.

Whereas reliability issues hampered Vettel and Red Bull's 2010 campaign early, the defending champions have now hit the ground running. The rivals clearly have their work cut out for them if they want to bridge the impressive gap.

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  Article Image gallery (12) Specifications