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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Sunday, 29 March 2009 13:13 UK

Red Bull considering new diffuser

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Melbourne

Christian Horner and Mark Webber
Horner (left) wants to give his Red Bull drivers the best car possible

Red Bull may add the controversial split-level diffuser to their 2009 car, says team boss Christian Horner.

The British team lodged a protest against the diffuser design used by Toyota, Williams and Brawn GP yet do not want to risk falling behind rivals.

Governing body, the FIA, decreed that the design was legal - but an appeal is set for 14 April after Renault, Ferrari and Red Bull challenged the decision.

Whether Red Bull pursues the split-level diffuser rests on that appeal.

"We started to look at the concept several weeks ago when we saw the cars run for the first time," Horner told BBC Sport.

"If the design is fully legal after 14 April then the seven teams will have to explore development in that area.

"We will accept the decision but would like to have absolute clarity going forward."

Red Bull looked set to begin the season in spectacular style at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday with Sebastian Vettel tracking eventual winner, Brawn GP's Jenson Button, for the vast majority of the race.

We are half a second behind the Brawns and we have to find that time as soon as possible

Red Bull boss Christian Horner

With three laps remaining, though, he crashed out following a collision with BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica for which he was demoted 10 places on the starting grid at next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix - but his drive was still indicative of Red Bull's encouraging speed.

Yet Horner believes the team can significantly improve their performance by incorporating the new diffuser, which is thought to add up to half a second in pace.

Before Toyota were demoted to the back of the grid in Melbourne for running with an illegal rear wing, six of the top eight cars in qualifying ran with the split-level diffuser.

"There is lap time to be gained," said Horner.

"Our guys have done a very good job with the cars over the winter but the diffuser issues opens up a development path that was not previously open.

"Previously you were looking at making gains in the front and rear wing but now you can look at the diffuser and the whole underside of the floor.

"That is potentially big performance gain because the floor is the most powerful aerodynamic tool on the car.


"We are half a second behind the Brawns and we have to find that time as soon as possible."

However, modifying the Adrian Newey-designed Red Bull around the new diffuser could take several weeks.

The Red Bull is the only car to incorporate a pull-rod rear suspension, which is incorporated into their gearbox design and means there is little room at the back of the car to add a split-level diffuser.

Horner, however, believes the redesign is "feasible".

He added: "The ramifications could be the whole rear half of the car which obviously has a huge amount of cost implications in a not fantastic economic time."

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see also
Button seals dream Australia win
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Vettel gets 10-place grid penalty
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Australian Grand Prix photos
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Australian GP as it happened
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Date set for F1 diffuser appeal
28 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Red Bull expect wins from new car
09 Feb 09 |  Formula 1

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