Red Bull RB9 - flexible tea tray theory 28 October 2013
One theory being talked about in India to potentially explain Red Bull's performance advantage related to the front section of the car's floor, commonly known as the 'tea tray'. A wooden plank runs the length of the floor and to regulate ride height the rules state that this may not wear away by more than 1mm over the course of a race. Unusually, recent thermal imaging footage of the RB9 showed the skid plates at the front of the tea tray getting very hot at low speeds. This led to suggestions that Red Bull might have found a way to attach the tea tray such that heat expansion in the materials used in its mountings raise the tray by 1 or 2mm at higher speeds, when increased downforce is naturally compressing the car closer to the ground. This would mean the team could run a lower front ride height at low speeds without wearing the plank excessively, and achieve a more constant gap between the tea tray and the ground through a wide range of speeds. FIA checks on the car found nothing illegal.