Red Bull Racing has taken the wraps off its 2017 Formula 1 World Championship challenger, the Renault-powered RB13, in an online launch ahead of the car’s on-track debut in pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona this week.
The team returned to the winner’s circle in 2016 with a win apiece for drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo with the RB12, a car highly rated for its aerodynamics but hampered by the horsepower deficiencies of its TAG Heuer-branded power unit.
With the shift in 2017’s technical regulations to focus more on aerodynamics – an area where the Milton Keynes outfit’s technical team, led by Adrian Newey, previously excelled – many expect this year’s car to be a title contender from the outset.
The RB13 features many design concepts similar to those showcased by teams to have launched their cars already – the de rigueur features include a thumb-tip nose and ‘shark fin’ engine cover extension – and immediately earned praise from its two drivers.
“The car looks very aggressive,” Verstappen said. “Hopefully when it looks that aggressive it will be fast, but we still have to wait and see.”
“It looks quite beautiful,” Ricciardo echoed. “It definitely looks sleek. They look like the fastest cars in the world. That was the impression I got.”
An interesting feature not seen on other teams’ cars is on the RB13’s nose, which sports an unusually large opening in the tip (pictured right).
The technical regulations allow for a small intake for the purposes of driver cooling and strictly govern the size of the intake itself, and it would appear that the RB13’s intake exceeds these maximum dimensions at an initial viewing of the photos.
With the car also featuring an ‘S duct’ where the nose section meets the front of the chassis to help with channeling air over the top of the chassis, the nose intake could additionally feed cooling air to other critical power unit components housed in the RB13’s extremely compact sidepods.
The rear of the car is among the most tightly packaged and sculpted of any of the 2017 cars seen to-date, which will benefit the car’s aerodynamics at the expense of cooling.
Images via Red Bull Racing