Red Bull-Renault RB5
This morning Red Bull Racing became the 7th Formula 1 team to launch their 2009 car. (See links to the other launches at the end of this post.) As is the fashion these days the car was unveiled in situ in the pitlane of an Iberian race track, in this case Jerez in Spain.
The car completed 14 laps before running was halted to investigate a temperature anomaly. No lap times were released.
It’s a good looking car, helping by the great Red Bull colour scheme which looks even better on these cleaner cars than it did on the previous generation ‘aero era’ cars (Red Bull had one of the best paint jobs in the paddock last year, IMO). Like many of the ’09 cars the back end is very small and the bodywork ends quite early, leaving the rear exposed.
What interests me is the position and length of the nose, it’s like a spear! It seems remarkably high up and I’m surprised the FIA will allow it, if I were driving for another team I wouldn’t want to have one of these cars run into me.
RBR will again race with the Renault engine. Renault have been allowed to make some tweaks to their unit because they were the only ones not to do so last year, taking the regulation about “don’t develop your engine” to the letter unlike other teams. As of now no development may be done to anybody’s engine.
Red Bull also confirmed the location of their battery/capacitor KERS system, which is sited underneath the fuel tank for centre-of-gravity and weight distribution reasons. If I were driving I’d be a little bit scared for ‘large, predominantly untested electrical storage device next to 60kg of petroleum’ reasons. They’ve already been instructed to sit still in the event of an accident, until a marshal turns off he KERS. I wonder what Niki Lauda thinks about being told to sit in a car while it burns around you..
Mark Webber (AUS) and Sebastien Vettel (D) are the drivers. Webber will as usual be looking for an improved year where he’ll be able to demonstrate his undoubted speed without getting involved in stupid incidents or bad car reliability. Vettel is simply looking to kick his arse, simple as that! It’ll be a fascinating year watching these two. I think Vettel will nick it – but Webber will make him work hard for it. David Coulthard remains with the team in a consultancy and testing role, dovetailing with his new BBC analyst duties (more on that in a BBC announcement on the 24th – very exciting!!). The other key personnel remain the same.
I think Red Bull Racing have a good shot at moving up the order this year and fulfilling some of that latent potential we all know they have.
Scuderia Toro Rosso and Force India F1 remain the only teams not to have launched as yet. If the Team Formerly Known As Honda does make it to Melbourne then that will be the location for their team launch, much as Super Aguri did last year. A sad state of affairs.
I’ll be back with something tomorrow.
Photo credit: RedBullRacing.com / Getty Images