As one of the last cars to complete, Red Bull have finally presented their RB5 to the public. And as expected from a Newey car, it looks great, suggesting the it might actually be great and prove a surprise in 2009
The new car features a fairly small nose compared to many of its competitors, making it immediately pleasing to the eye. Mark Webber had already hinted at a beautiful car, and so it proves to be.
On a more technical side, the front wing is a very elaborate design which tries to make optimal use of all areas ahead of the front wheels where bodywork is allowed. Three panels with an additional deck element resembles the complexity of last year's front wings.
The new Red Bull still has some kind of sidepod panels, together with a split barge board ahead of the sidepod air inlet. It is in fact bigger than on any other 2009 car. The sidepods on the other hand are simple within the rules but are going sloping downward towards the rear end of the car, no doubt leaning to the boundaries of what is possible for cooling the internal components.
The team itself presents its car as follows: The 2009 season will see Red Bull Racing embark on its fifth year in F1, although its parent company’s links with the sport began a couple of decades earlier. An obvious Austrian connection between Red Bull and Gerhard Berger meant the driver was signed up as Red Bull’s first athlete and, as the drinks company went on to establish a reputation for backing extreme sports, it continued to strengthen its F1 involvement. Its colours graced many a grand prix driver’s drinks bottle and its logo featured on the Sauber team cars. Then, in 2004, Red Bull went one stage further and bought what had been Jaguar Racing and lined up at the start of the 2005 season with David Coulthard and Christian Klien sitting in the cockpits of the team’s RB1 car.
From the outset, the team’s on-track performance was respectable, but what really set Red Bull Racing apart from its peers was the fresh approach it brought to its F1 programme: the Red Bulletin daily paddock newspaper, the Formula Una girls, the Energy Station that played host to the entire paddock and stunning movie co-operations in Monaco. The team has always done things differently.
Red Bull Racing achieved its first podium in Monaco in 2006, which proved to be a transitional year for the team. There was investment in new staff and new equipment, while a key appointment was made in the form of renowned designer Adrian Newey. Wind tunnels and other simulation tools were developed and, as the team worked hard on the RB3, the first car to be designed by Adrian Newey’s technical team, the foundations of the team were firmly established. Later the same year the team confirmed a deal to run Renault engines that had been good enough to win back-to-back Championship titles in the previous two seasons.
Since 2006 the team has been consistent with a podium finish in 2007 with Mark Webber at the Nurburgring and a further podium finish for David Coulthard in Canada in 2008. This year will see the team fielding a very strong driver line-up, blending the experience of Mark Webber with the youthful talent of Sebastian Vettel. In a sport where money did all the talking, the new rules, which go some way to ruling out the cash advantage of the biggest teams, could well see a shake-up in how the grid lines up. Certainly Red Bull Racing, having just completed another major upgrade of its technical facility at Milton Keynes, is perfectly placed to challenge Formula One’s established order.