Honda website
Honda website

FEBRUARY 4, 2013

Sauber 'spy' at Red Bull?

Tongue in cheek, a German specialist publication has wondered if there is a Sauber spy in the house at world champions Red Bull.

After Swiss team Sauber surprised the world with its ultra-slim sidepods and a half-'stepped' nose for its newly launched C32, Auto Motor und Sport's Michael Schmidt noticed that Red Bull's new RB9 - which broke cover on Sunday - "has the same characteristics".

Actually, Red Bull insisted the RB9 is a simple "evolution" of its title-winning predecessor, while Adrian Newey argued the whole concept of a 'new' car is now outdated.

"It's a car in transition, as are all the cars -- development is key," he said.

The team insisted one of the biggest changes is the new purple hue to the livery, marking the official beginning of the Infiniti title sponsorship.

In essence, it was difficult for observers at the Milton Keynes launch to make a real assessment -- photography was banned, and those in the audience squinted to make out the RB9's details in the clever lighting before the car was covered up once again.

Newey did reveal that the change in the 'step' nose for 2013 is a compromise between the unseemly 2012 rules and the FIA's allowance of a so-called 'vanity panel' this year.

"We have a vanity panel," he confirmed, "but it doesn't extend very far forward otherwise it becomes unjustifiable in weight."

Shortly after the launch, the RB9 was loaded into a transporter bound for Jerez, where Mark Webber will be at the wheel for the opening action on Tuesday.