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July 28th, 2012
Red Bull boss Christian Horner insists his team never made illegal changes to its car in parc ferme, despite a fresh controversy erupting over a ride-height adjuster at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Fresh from the reigning champions being involved in a row over engine maps in Germany last week, it emerged in Hungary that back at the Canadian GP the team was asked by the FIA to change a mechanism that gave it the possibility to alter front suspension settings manually.
Teams are supposed to only use tools to make such adjustments, and the FIA was not happy with the ease by which Red Bull could change its suspension – and therefore alter the ride height. It was asked to modify the system so that tools needed to be used.
The regulations state that teams cannot change suspension settings between qualifying and the race – and in order to ensure compliance tools must be used to make such alternations.
Article 34.5 of the Sporting Regulations states: “In order that the scrutineers may be completely satisfied that no alterations have been made to the suspension systems or aerodynamic configuration of the car (with the exception of the front wing) whilst in post qualifying parc ferme, it must be clear from physical inspection that changes cannot be made without the use of tools.”
The benefit of having an easily adjusted suspension setting would be in allowing changes to be made to the car before the race without raising the suspicion of scrutineers – but Horner is adamant that his outfit never exploited that possibility.
“It was something that could either be changed by hand or by tool, but the FIA said they preferred it was a tool that was used,” Horner told AUTOSPORT.
“We never changed the ride height in parc ferme or anything like that. It really is a non-issue.”
When asked why, if the regulations state that tools must be used, the team had a system that allowed settings to be changed manually, Horner said: “There are a lot of parts that are changed manually on the car, but a tool is used. The suspension has never been changed in parc ferme. Never.
“Basically what was on the car on Canada has been on the car at other races as well, but at no point has it been adjusted in parc ferme. It is question of whether you do it with a tool or manually, and it is done with a tool.”
The right-height issue is the latest in a string of technical controversies that Red Bull has been involved in this season – with it having to change its floor after Monaco because of holes, refine its wheel hub design in Canada and revise its engine map settings after Germany.
Horner says that the string of issues is simply the end result of his outfit producing another quick car.
“I think it is the consequence of being competitive,” he said. “When others are complaining the reason the car is quick, and that is the case here.”