Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020

Red Bull are latest team to test ahead of F1’s return

2020 F1 season

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Alexander Albon is driving Red Bull’s RB16 in a filming day at Silverstone today ahead of the start of the season next week.

Red Bull has made different testing arrangements to its major rivals. As the team is running its current car, the event is defined as a promotional run, and they are limited to a maximum of 100 kilometres’ running.

Mercedes and Ferrari chose to run two-year-old cars in their events at Silverstone and Mugello respectively, meaning they did not have the same restrictions on mileage. Running a two-year-old car was not an option for Red Bull, as the Honda-powered team would have had to source a power unit from former supplier Renault.

These tests will give teams the opportunity to practice operating their cars while observing social distancing restrictions which will be in place when the championship begins behind closed doors at the Red Bull Ring next week.

This is the second and final promotional event Red Bull can perform this year. It already ran its RB16 pre-season at Silverstone with Max Verstappen at the wheel. It used an older car for another event at Zandvoort.

Renault also ran a two-year old car in a test at the Red Bull Ring. Racing Point used its RP20 for a promotional event at Silverstone last week.

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Pictures: Alexander Albon tests at Silverstone

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Red Bull are latest team to test ahead of F1’s return”

  1. Does this mean that all PU’s are returned to their manufacturer once they’ve been used? Do Red Bull not have any Renault engines, or is that they can’t operate them without Renault?

    1. @bernasaurus The latter. They’d need people from Renault for operating the Renault PUs fitted in the pre-2018 hybrid era cars.

      1. @bernasaurus Sorry, pre-2019, of course. Hybrid era-cars from 2014 to 2018 (RB10-RB14).

    2. @bernasaurus most teams that take an engine supply contract are technically just leasing the engines from their supplier and do not own them outright, meaning they have to be returned to their supplier at the end of the contract.

      It’s something that has been going on in F1 since at least the 1960s, when most teams would lease an engine from companies like Coventry Climax and later Cosworth (or independent suppliers that Cosworth would sub-contract work out to, such as Nicholson or Judd).

  2. I’ve asked this before but could I please get some clarity about this?

    ..was not an option for Red Bull, as the Honda-powered team would have had to source a power unit from former supplier Renault

    It used an older car for another event at Zandvoort.

    What brand of engine you think was in that older car?

    I always thought teams have contracts with old(er) engine suppliers so that they can still use the car for demo(/test)runs. Can someone debunk this for me?

    1. I would think it is more down to the agreement they have with their current engine partner, in this case Honda. Maybe they allow shorter promotional use of old Renault engines but not a longer, closely watched by media, actual test. If they can only do a short run anyway they might as well use the current car with Honda power. Commercial agreements can be complex, especially when involving multiple parties…

    2. @nmgn The 2011 RB7 has, of course, the Renault V8 at the back, but since V8s are easier to operate they don’t need Renault-people for that purpose. It’s only the hybrid era-cars, which are harder to operate without certain people present if the PU fitted comes from a manufacturer different from the team’s current one.

  3. @jerejj Right, that makes sense. Do teams just buy a couple of old V8’s/year then? Or are these still old engines they already used in GPs?

    1. @nmgn I assume they’re old engines used in GPs and testing, so for proper running in their active year.

  4. it still is a pity that VER was unable to test as a result of the strickt covid rules.
    The only top driver with no mileage under his belly.

    1. nonsesne Erikje, He already drove at Zandvoort with real pace….

  5. Is it just me or does that nose look a lot narrower than testing?

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