Sunday, 1 February 2015

Red Bull RB11 Thinks It's Invisible, Isn't

2015 Red Bull-Renault RB11 Test Car
Red Bull Racing hate his time of year. In recent years, pre-season testing at Jerez has seem them desperate to hide their new car from view whenever possible. If they could have people driving Infiniti QX70s alongside it at all times to hide it when it's actually on track, they would. But seeing as road cars aren't fast enough, they've taken a different idea from the world of production cars and "unveiled" their 2015 RB11 with a dazzling camouflage livery this morning, as it heads out for the first pre-season test in the happy hands of Daniel Ricciardo.

However, they can't hide anything from SmallBlog V8! No sir! The most obvious change in 2015 is in the nose designs - as is traditional these days - so let's enhance a spy photo or two of it on track and see what shape it is:

The overall nose shape is very similar to that of last year's much-maligned Ferrari F14-T, which is an interesting decision. Meanwhile, there is a small protruding tip similar to this year's Force India or Williams cars, perhaps to suit regulations about how far forwards the tip is or to act as an air guide, so the air flows the right way underneath the car. Maybe it's even a crash structure. Today's test car also has a five-element front wing with some curvy winglets at each end. Mind you, it'll probably look different come Melbourne...

As for the rest of the car, well, it's very similar to the RB10 of last season. Perhaps a lot of it in fact is the RB10, which would perhaps be as good a reason as any to hide the shape of it with cubist camo. We know Toro Rosso are taking a gradual approach towards completing their new car, so parent team Red Bull following suit wouldn't be the most unusual thing I suppose. No doubt the car we see at the first Grand Prix in six weeks' time - maybe even in the second and third test weeks at Cataluña - will be more different to the 2014 car. And blue. With purple bits. And some stripes.

Image from F1Technical
Taking the helm now that Sebastian Vettel has left his team for pastures new at Ferrari, will be Daniil Kvyat. Despite being outscored by his Toro Rosso teammate Jean-Eric Vergne last year, the unpronounceable Russian put in some strong performances through the season and demonstrated some fine car control whenever it all started to go awry. He will be partnering Daniel Ricciardo*, who also exceeded expectations last year by thoroughly outperforming four-time champ Vettel in the same car. You have to assume it'll be the Australian leading the team this year, but Kvyat could give us some surprises in his second F1 season.

*Whilst we're on pronunciations, his last name is Italian, so is pronounced "Ri-char-doe," but he prefers a more English-sounding "Rick-car-doe" and that's what the commentators use. They's still deciding how to pronounce Kvyat. Apparently it's a "soft K," whatever that sounds like...

There's not an awful lot else to say, really, other than reminding you that chief technical man and aerodynamics wizard Adrian Newey is now semi-retired from Red Bull Racing, meaning the technical team have been rearranged to compensate for his relative lack of involvement. Will they still manage the same aero performance? Will they still have the same kind of innovative ideas like rubber noses and flexing wings and blown diffusers? Apparently blown front axles are coming back, so while I go and find out exactly what that is, enjoy some more pictures of a car that thinks it's invisible... but isn't.

Written for SmallBlog V8. Do not copy without permission. Most images from F1 Fanatic.

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