Red Bull Racing has unveiled the car it hopes will help it claim a fourth successive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship title sweep. The Renault-powered RB9 was shown off at its Milton Keynes headquarters, streaming to the public via its YouTube channel.
With the 2013 season being the final under the sport’s current regulations, the RB9 is a logical evolution of the seven-race-winning RB8, although there are obvious areas where the design has seen refinement in comparison to its predecessor.
One major area is the substantially cutaway sidepods which show off a considerable amount of the design’s exhaust layout. Another area of focus is that the RB9 won’t be reverting from the ‘stepped nose’ design concept, opting not to run the ‘modesty panel’ that is allowed under the 2013 rules.
“[The] RB9 is an evolutionary car," said the team’s chief technical officer, Adrian Newey. “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 tyres behave but past experience tells us that it’s only when we go testing that we really find out.”
Aside from the design changes, the RB9 also showcases a slightly revised colour scheme. While the corporate colours of the Red Bull group remain, the addition or purple reflects the increased financial support of new naming rights sponsor, Japanese carmaker Infiniti. The company’s logos feature prominently on the RB9’s sidepods and rear wing.
Team principal Christian Horner believes that continuity within the team will prove critical to its chances of repeating the success it has enjoyed for the last three seasons.
“The 2012 season was tough and long, but our success was testimony to all the hard work and dedication in the factory," Horner, who has led the team since 2005, said. “We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to maintain continuity within our group. This is the fifth year that this driver pairing has been together.
“We’ve got continuity throughout all of the technical teams and all the key areas. I think that’s proof that there is a fierce determination to keep both of those trophies in the cabinet for another year.”
The team’s pre-season test programme will kick off at Jerez on Tuesday, with Mark Webber getting the first two days’ running before handing over to team-mate Sebastian Vettel.