David Coulthard has played down any suggestion Red Bull's decision to launch its 2009 car later than many of its rivals could impair the team's chances this year.

David Coulthard has played down any suggestion Red Bull's decision to launch its 2009 car later than many of its rivals could impair the team's chances this year.

The RB5 will make its track debut at Jerez in February, when most teams - with the exception of sister squad Toro Rosso and Force India - will already have their cars up and running ahead of the March 29 season-opener in Australia.

But Coulthard, a veteran of nearly 250 grands prix and now an advisor for the Milton Keynes based team, said the late launch is a "conscious decision" by management rather than an unfortunate delay.

"RBR has spent a bit longer in research and wind tunnel time," the Scot told ITV, "but that was a conscious decision to try and maximise the study (of the new rules)."

Coulthard said "time will tell" whether the decision is right, but he noted that the last time car designer Adrian Newey faced sweeping regulation changes, his single seater set the pace.

Comparing the situation to 1998, when he and Newey worked for McLaren, Coulthard said "this could well be one of those opportunities again".

 

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