Red Bull team principal Christian Horner isn’t concerned their rivals had a chance to inspect their car’s seldom-seen floor when Sergio Perez car was lifted by a crane on Saturday.
Much of their performance advantage is believed to come from how air flows beneath the car’s floor. Rivals had a rare chance to view Red Bull’s design when Perez’s car was lifted away after he crashed during Q1 in Monaco.
“It’s very rude to look up people’s skirts,” Horner joked when asked if he was concerned about his car’s secrets being revealed.
The underside of Mercedes’ W14 was also exposed when Lewis Hamilton crashed at Mirabeau during final practice. “It’s been a bit of a show and tell for all the teams this weekend,” Horner said. “Everybody’s been up in the air at some point. So it’s the same for everyone.”
However Horner believes Red Bull’s rivals would have already had a good idea what their car’s floor looks like.
“Pictures of floors get taken in and around the paddock,” he said. “They arrive in vans, they work with the cars, the shutters are up. Each team will be employing spy photographers to get pictures of the cars when they’re in parts and pieces. So that’s common practice.
“I wouldn’t have thought it’s the first picture of the floor. It’s probably the first time it’s been suspended from a crane. But all teams are always striving for that intelligence.”
Aston Martin’s performance director Tom McCullough was relieved their car wasn’t exposed in the same way. “I’m sure the aerodynamicists will be having a good look at all the cars that have been lifted up,” he said. “Thankfully ours haven’t been lifted up yet. Let’s try to keep it that way.”
F1 designers are especially anxious to avoid their cars’ floors being seen, he said. “The aerodynamicists never want you to share that. You learn a lot from just even how the plank’s wearing, you learn a lot from what’s touching [the ground].
“But there’s a lot of very excited aerodynamics up and down the pit lane looking at all those I dare say.”
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