Red Bull have officially revealed their new RB18 challenger to the world ahead of the new Formula One season, which is set to get underway next month.
The Austrian outfit will be hoping that the sum of their hard work will be able to carry Max Verstappen to another Drivers’ Championship title at the expense of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes over the coming months.
Verstappen clinched the end-of-season honours under hugely controversial circumstances last year, with the Dutchman pipping Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to get his hands on the coveted trophy.
The new car looks very different to its championship-winning predecessor, the RB16B, as a result of this year’s regulations mandating a number of high-profile changes to its aerodynamic profile.
Wednesday’s launch also saw the team announce the start of a new partnership with incoming title sponsor, Oracle, which replaces Honda following the Japanese manufacturer’s departure from F1 at the end of last year.
“Discovering and reacting to opportunities quickly, is crucial to our success on and off the track, and Oracle is integral in that effort. Every element of our performance is driven by data analysis.
Meanwhile, the Red Bull car on show at Wednesday’s launch event would not have been identical to the final RB18 challenger, with Horner insisting earlier this week that some technical aspects would be kept under wraps until pre-season testing gets underway later this month.
“Particularly with a new set of regulations, teams are keen to protect their IP, so of course, you’re trying to give away as little as you can,” he told RacingNews365.
“You’ll never see a diffuser or anything like that, and profiles of wings are perhaps slightly different, but that’s become the norm in Formula One now.
“This is more of a curtain-raiser for the season and it’ll really be the Bahrain test that you’re probably getting close to seeing cars in their race spec.
“[The RB18 launch is] primarily focused on delivering the aspirations of the team for the season ahead. “It remains to be seen whether Red Bull’s new machinery will be able to deliver the goods once again this year as Verstappen goes in search of another Drivers’ Championship triumph at the next available opportunity.
He has already declared his intention to sport the No 1 on his car after racing with the No 33 throughout the entirety of his F1 career to date.
“How many times can you do that? I don’t know, maybe it’s the only time I can in my life,” said Verstappen after winning his maiden title in Abu Dhabi. “It’s the best number out there, so I will definitely put it on the car.”