Red Bull RB8 (lateral view)

Red Bull Racing has delayed the media a chance to give its new RB8 closer scrutiny on day before pre-season testing gets underway, releasing a paltry two images on its official website as it tries desperately to keep its title-defender under wraps.

But there’s already one design feature that has tongues wagging…

Designed by Adrian Newey, the RB8 will set out to deliver the team its third successive sweep of the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship crowns.

Red Bull RB8 It is undoubtedly the most eagerly-anticipated of the 2012 designs, with rival outfits keen to see what clever innovations Newey has come up with to work within the sport’s technical regulations, which have now banned the ‘blown exhaust diffuser’ that made the RB7 such a dominant car.

An evolution of its utterly dominant RB7 predecessor, its CGI-rendered images reveal the near ubiquitous ‘platypus’ nose and revised exhaust layout under the new rules.

It’s a design that Newey admits is “slightly ugly looking”, but he remains confident that it will again deliver on track.

“We’ve kept more or less the same chassis shape, but had to drop the nose just in front of the front bulkhead, which, in common with many other teams, has led us to I think I’d probably say a slightly ugly looking nose,” he is quoted as saying.

“We’ve tried to style it as best we can, but it’s not a feature you would choose to put in were it not for the regulation.”

This air inlet on the RB8's nose looks set to be a talking point in the F1 paddock One of few spy shots that eager photographers were able to take of the car in the Jerez garages was of a curious air inlet positioned at the ‘step’ on the car’s nose.

Its exact purpose is yet to be established, although a sensible line of thought is that the device serves either a cooling function or that it acts as a channel (with a corresponding outlet point) to smooth air flow over other sections of the car, and thereby help the car recover some of the downforce it will lose under the new exhaust regulations.

Richard Bailey
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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