RED Bull have launched the car they hope will return them to Formula 1 championship contention for the first time in five years.
The RB14 bucks the team’s trend of recent years, by appearing well before the start of pre-season testing.
The team said launching “aggressively late” allowed more time to develop the car, but that they did not need to launch late this year.
Daniel Ricciardo will conduct initial testing at Silverstone on Monday.
Red Bull are the first major team to unveil their car, at the start of a week that will see the vast majority of the new machinery appear before the start of pre-season testing on 26 February.
Renault and Sauber are launching on Tuesday, world champion Mercedes and rivals Ferrari on Thursday and McLaren on Friday.
Red Bull came on strong towards the end of last season after a slow start, Max Verstappen winning two of the last six races.
The new car is a clear evolutionary development of last year’s RB13 but features a number of technical innovations:
- Very narrow and aggressively undercut side pods – the bodywork beside and behind the driver – and unique aerodynamic airflow-shaping devices in front of them.
- The rear wing also features endplates that cut in towards the centre of the car in a more angular and aggressive manner than is usual.
- The car was launched with a temporary paint scheme, described by the team as “a special edition livery”.
- The race paintwork will be unveiled in testing at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya next week.
Red Bull were unexpectedly far off the pace at the start of last season but by the end of it had proved they were more than on top of the new regulations for wider, faster and more dramatic cars.
Allowing for the power deficit of their Renault engine, Red Bull argued they had the best chassis of all by the end of the year.
Mercedes and Ferrari might both have contested that claim but there was no question the Red Bull was right up there.
There is no reason to doubt from first appearances that the new RB14 will continue to be one of F1’s leading cars – and in Ricciardo and Verstappen it has what most would agree is the best collective driver line-up on the grid.
But their hopes for success will depend on whether engine partner Renault has managed to fulfil its objectives of closing the performance gap on standard-setting Mercedes and their close rivals Ferrari, as well as solving the reliability problems that plagued them last year. – bbc.com