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Like a proud father, Adrian Newey looked down on his new baby today, all 642 kg of it, a child that he hopes will continue the family's winning tradition.
Asked is he is proud of his baby, Newey replies: "We are. It's a tribute to all the hard work of the guys over the winter because we had a very tight championship battle last year. It was difficult trying to continue development of last year's car while also doing research into the RB9.
"Obviously it worked for us," he continues, "but it gave us a very tight timeframe to design and manufacture this car. To have it here today, two days before the first test, I think is an absolutely remarkable achievement by the guys."
Asked to explain the difference between the RB9 and its predecessor, the Englishman responds: "The RB9 is an evolutionary car. Probably the most significant change is not the regulations, but the new Pirelli tyres. We had a quick test with those in practice ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix but in truth we didn't learn a lot because of the conditions. Pirelli have supplied us data about how the new tyres behave but past experience tells us it's only when we go testing that we really find out.
"Because the regulations haven't altered greatly it's been a question of refining RB8," he continues. "The front wing stiffness test has been made harsher, making compliance difficult in terms of how stiff the wing has to be, but the rest of the car is very much an evolution. All the principles are the same as last year's car but hopefully evolved somewhat.
"It's all in the details rather than saying the gains are in this or that," he says, when asked where the biggest steps forward have been taken. "We've tidied up some bits we thought could be improved upon - but as is usual these days, this is a car in transition. There will be one or two new parts appearing by the first race, which I'm sure is the same for everybody. After that it's going to be about development through the year."
Development through the year has been a key factor in recent seasons, so where does Newey think the significant battlegrounds will be in 2013? "I think continuing to develop an understanding of the tyres will be crucial," he admits. "Every time we thought we understood them last year, some fresh surprise would come up and we would realise our understanding wasn't complete.
"There is a change to the tyres this year, so I think that will be a huge learning area. The rest I'm sure will be detailed evolution of the aerodynamics and trying to tune the car to the drivers' liking."
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