Before the first day of pre-season testing got started there was the small matter of launching cars for a handful of teams. One of these teams was reigning world champions Red Bull, as they took the covers off the car they hope will win them their fifth championship in as many years.
Sebastian Vettel and new recruit Daniel Ricciardo took the covers off the RB10 in the Jerez pit-lane, with Team Principal Christian Horner and designer Adrian Newey also in attendance. It was, perhaps, the most anticipated car of the 2014 launches, given Red Bull’s recent success and the anticipation of how Newey would interpret the new regulations.
“This season we have two big regulation changes, the first one concerning the engine,” Newey explained. “We’ve gone from the normally aspirated 18,000rpm V8 to a turbo charged 1.6 litre V6 with much higher electrical content and very strict fuel consumption. So, we not only have a limit of 100kgs of fuel for the race but we have a maximum flow rate. For reference, the previous engines were using 160kg, so it’s a big reduction in fuel. That of course means there will be a lot of strategy in the race.”
“On top of that you have a lowered nose,” he continued. “What you end up with is almost two noses – one that is the main bulk of the nose to the minimum side view height and then almost a bulb sticking out from that. I think there will be a few ungainly noses, which is a shame. To me the aesthetics of an F1 car are important: they should look good and not many owners of these noses could really love them.”
Reigning champion Vettel revealed that he has no expectations for the new season. “It’s a big change for all the teams, including ourselves, so it’s difficult to have any sort of expectations,” he said. “The most important thing, once we get going, is to understand the car and hopefully build on that. Therefore, expectations are fairly low, but once you realise you have a good car (hopefully!) you want to make sure you race in the same area that you did in recent years.”
Ricciardo, who has graduated from Toro Rosso to Red Bull for this year revealed that he is excited for the year ahead. “The season ahead is going to be very challenging, but very exciting,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a few months now; my whole life in a way as well. It’s another big step in my career. With all the rule changes, it’s exploring new ground, so it’s challenging for everyone, but I’m sure we’re all ready and excited.”
“I think it’s a good time to change team what with all the changes happening in 2014,” he continued. “I think it’s going to level things out and give me the best chance possible to shine – I hope! It gives me a few goosebumps, knowing that the car is now mine to use to my full potential this year, so that’s exciting and definitely a proud moment!”
Horner revealed what he believed would be the key to success this year. “This year the reliability of the power unit is going to be critical,” he stated. “Whoever has the most powerful and reliable power unit will probably come out on top, so it’s a game changer in many respects, but we look forward to the new challenge. The atmosphere in the team is excellent. We’ve been riding the crest of a wave over the last four years and there’s a great determination to see that continue in 2014. It’s been the most intense winter we’ve ever had. We’ve produced the car in the shortest possible amount of time and it’s fantastic to see the team operating the way it has.”