Red Bull’s new car is the slowest of all in a straight line, according to an analysis by respected German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
Based on the all-important final two days of Barcelona running last weekend, correspondent Michael Schmidt found that the RB9 (307.7kph) was 12.8kph slower on the long front straight than the quickest, the Marussia.
Behind the Cosworth-powered Marussia, Ferrari-powered Ferrari and Sauber are next best with 316.7kph, equalled by the Mercedes-powered Force India.
McLaren is next, followed by the fastest Renault-powered 2013 single seater, the Lotus, clocking in at 314.9kph.
Even Toro Rosso (Ferrari) and Williams (Renault) were 5kph faster than the Red Bull.
But Schmidt said: “As Red Bull has shown, races are not won on the straight.”
Red Bull is known for it’s low top speeds. These “slow” top speeds have nothing to do with quick lap times. In F1 you can gain the most time with braking, cornering and accelerating. Going fast in a straight line has nothing to do with racing. Because the Red Bull RB9 F1 car generates the highest downforce of all F1 cars it’s the fastest (in theory).
The big advantage of Red Bull’s high downforce car is quite complex, but we will try to explain how it works. Most lap time can be gained with time consuming items in a lap. You can imagine that cornering, braking and accelerating take the most time. The secret of more downforce is that you can drive faster through corners and brake later without losing traction with the tarmac. The bonus you get for having more downforce is that have to accelerate less and can accelerate harder (more torque) without losing tyre traction.