Monday, February 11, 2008

Mark Webber is confident

Mark Webber is confident Red Bull will start the season with the most reliable car it has had for a “long time” after a strong start to testing with the new RB4.

The Australian and team-mate David Coulthard lost out on a number of points-scoring results in 2007 as the RB3 consistently suffered from gearbox-related glitches.

However Webber reckons RBR’s latest design has so far proved to be a clear step forward on the reliability front in testing and the team should start the new season with a less brittle package.

“The reliability has been really encouraging for us, especially from the Red Bull for the Milton Keynes side,” he said in an Australian Grand Prix podcast.

“We've had a few Renault [engine] issues which have stopped us on track but as far as gearbox and a lot of the Achilles Heels that we had last year, a lot of that equipment has been pulled down very well at the end of each night so we're very encouraged by how those components are at this early stage.

“All things being equal we should have at least the most reliable car that we've had for a long time coming into the season, which is good.”

RBR’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey was adamant that he hadn’t taken a more conservative design approach with RB4 in a bid to cure its predseccor’s reliability weaknesses.

An example of this was the introduction of a radical engine cover ‘fin’ on the new car at the recent Barcelona test.

Webber says Newey will continue to be as aggressive in the car’s development as he can be, given the team’s need for a more reliable challenger.

“Adrian has never really been conservative in his whole life in terms of designing cars so we're trying to - I mean, the engine cover looks very, very different but in terms of actually the effects of the car are very subtle in terms of the aerodynamic tuning device that we're trying to play with and we know what it does to the car in certain situations on the track but we're just trying to work out,” he said.

“That particular thing you're talking about is the engine cover so we've been, I'd say, not too adventurous on the sort of the weight saving, all those sort of things have been done very well without a huge amount of risk involved because we need to obviously prove that we can design a reliable car.

“So tricky sort of position to be in and how aggressive we be but Adrian has never really been that conservative.

"With all that taken into account, what does it mean? It means that Adrian is being as aggressive as he can be within reason, without being ridiculous."

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