Red Bull Racing has finally launched its 2015 challenger, the RB11, in the hours before official pre-season kicked off at Jerez and shocked the paddock with this ‘dazzle’ testing livery in a clear attempt to hide the car’s more intricate design details from rival teams. Expect some other teams to follow suit over the remaining test events.
Like all of its 2015 contemporaries, the new car features a lower nose in accordance with the regulations. The RB11 will be raced this year by Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, with the latter promoted from Scuderia Toro Rosso as the replacement for Sebastian Vettel following the German’s unexpected decision to join Ferrari.
“The design of the RB11 has been very much about understanding what we learned from last season,” said Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey. “We have been working very hard with our partners Renault to help them develop the engine. What we have to remember is that the internal combustion engine and its very complicated associated items, the ERS and turbocharger, are long lead time items. Those are things where if one team takes an advantage then it takes time to overthrow that or get back on a par with or hopefully ahead.”
Team Principal Christian Horner added that the relationship with Renault – which was under strain for much of 2014 – is now a lot closer.
“Red Bull is the only partner for Renault now,” he added. “Through ourselves and Toro Rosso, and that focus from Renault together with a close involvement with our design team is yielding good results and a far closer integration between the power unit and the chassis side. Working in unison with Renault we can really make some big steps forward this year. We’ve been pushing to the limit as usual. We had a very tight timescale for the car to be prepared in time for the first test, but that’s normal in this team. If you’re not on the limit you’re not trying hard enough.
“We were the only team other than Mercedes to win a Grand Prix in 2014 and we won three with Daniel Ricciardo,” he continued. “Our target is to close the gap down and put Mercedes under as much pressure as we possibly can. We know what we’re aiming at, we know what we need to achieve and I believe that with the RB11, with the drivers we have and with the new structures put in place we should be able to do that.”
While Newey has stepped back from a full-time role with the Milton Keynes squad, it was at pains to stress that its design ace will very much be involved with the F1 team and its new Advanced Technologies division.
Its engineering department is now headed by former chief designer Rob Marshall, now promoted to Chief Engineering Officer. The group also features Dan Fallows (Head of Aerodynamics), Paul Monaghan (Chief Car Engineering) and Pierre Waché (Chief Performance Engineering).