It was David Coulthard who won the coin toss this year and drove the new RB4 at its launch in Jerez.While the Scot watched as Webber took out the RB3 for its first run in Barcelona in 2007, this year it was the Australian who sat on the sidelines.
But both drivers and team are confident that this year reliability is going to be less of an issue in 2008. "We've had 100% reliability so far, things are looking good!" said DC. "I have been at a few shakedowns where we struggled to even do an installation lap.”
And team principal Christian Horner believes the momentum the team achieved at the end of last season has been strengthened since Interlagos and helped Red Bull move forward.“This is the first time we've had the same engine going into a second season,” he said. “With continuity in the design group, this winter has been the smoothest I've seen; the group has now worked together for over a year.“Our target is to build on the progress we saw at the end of last year. In the final three races, in a tight group we were theoretically the fourth fastest team and we'll be looking to build on that. Hopefully we'll start where we finished, but obviously a fundamental issue we need to address with this car is reliability. That cost us a great deal of points in 2007, so a lot of the design focus has been on reliability.”
The man asked to solve that issue was technical chief officer, Adrian Newey. “The reliability problems didn’t come as a result of chasing performance," said Newey. "They came through detailed design, manufacturing and operations faults and the reliability systems couldn't cope. We haven't had to make any compromises in that respect, it is just a matter of understanding why things were failing and what was breaking down in the system to cause them."
Which - all-in-all - means hopes are high for this season. As Mark Webber put it, the target for 2008 was “to do better than last year”.
"We want to start with a faster car if we can, because if you start with a quicker car, that's a good position to start the championship in,” Webber said. “We want to get a lot more points than we got last year. We missed a lot of through retirements with mechanical problems, so we'll see if we can get some of those points back. That would be good."