Red Bull Racing 2022 F1 car launch

Red Bull wary rivals may have “stolen a march” while they focused on 2021

2022 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner acknowledged the team’s focus on its successful 2021 campaign may have allowed their rivals to gain ground on them ahead of the new season.

Formula 1 has introduced sweeping new technical regulations for 2022. Red Bull were involved in a close championship fight with rivals Mercedes, which wasn’t decided until the final race of last year.

While the title contenders continued to develop their cars through much of last season, other teams prioritised their 2022 projects from the outset. Speaking at the presentation of their new car for 2022, Horner said he is aware their rivals may have exploited this opportunity to catch up.

“We’re aiming very much to build on what we achieved last year, so the target is to try and obviously retain the title,” he said at the team’s presentation of its new car.

“The big unknown is, have we missed something with these regulations? Has another team stolen a march because of the focus and effort that went into 2021?

“We believe we’ve got a good car, RB18, as you know, coming to life and seeing it today is fantastic. It’s the culmination of a huge effort from the team and we’re looking forward to seeing it out on the track in anger.”

Horner admitted the car the team will run in the first race of the year will look very different to that presented by the team today, which bore a strong resemblance to the 2022 show car F1 displayed at several races last year. He said the team had to take a completely different approach to designing its new car to F1’s changed rules set.

“Every single component is brand new this year,” he said. “And with it being a ground effect car, with it being designed to make overtaking hopefully easier, the cars easier to follow each other, that’s changed the whole philosophy of how we design these cars.

“So it’s a steep learning curve, it’s steep for everyone, and it’s a race of development between first race and the last race.”

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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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26 comments on “Red Bull wary rivals may have “stolen a march” while they focused on 2021”

  1. Wait what, now it is sort of brilliant if this is presented as the real early concept Red Bull while being as far as we can see one of the actual FOM show cars to impress the look how far we haven’t yet developed the car, only for a ‘b-spec’ at the 2nd test and another big step at the 1st race. A bit fake most likely, but even so, it is a sort of clever narrative.

    1. Maybe you have to look at the fom car again.
      It’s not the same, just like the Haas car was not the same.

      1. You are incorrect. There are multiple showcar specifications. The showcar that Red Bull unveiled is identical to one of the FIA showcars we’ve already seen & also identical to the car Merc have been teasing on their platforms:

        1. thanks @jmccormack, well put.

    2. @bosyber

      It’s not even incorrect, as the first concept that every team started with, was the FOM concept car.

      1. @aapje I tend to feel that’s right, though thinking rationally, we might be completely wrong as it could well be that Newey for example looked at the prescribed and allowed shapes in the rules and started from scratch to think how he’d get the most out of those rules, and others probably did that too. Refining a FOM model might be a sort of default they’d looked at as a baseline for what to expect though.

        After seeing the Haas early-attempt render for example, I doubt anyone is going to have sidepod openings as they are on the FOM cars, it seems they don’t need the large openings, and pulling the sidepods forwards with a small opening near the cockpit might well work for most, similarly to how the 2017 regulation change intended for them to be at an angle, but teams used that space for extra wing bits if at all (though I really hope many find a more aesthetically pleasing look to the sidepod fronts than Haas showed).

        1. @bosyber

          My guess is that they would have the rules and the concept car side by side and then start changing stuff on the concept car based on their analysis of the rules and their needs. Like changing the sidepod size/location/angle. Bits like the sidepod can be developed mostly in isolation from most other stuff, based on the cooling needs of the engine, I think.

          Other parts are more dependent on each other, like the front aero bits having a big impact on the rear aero bits. Yet you would never just do computer simulations on a front wing without having the rest of the car. Even for their first attempt at a front wing, they’d have a basic rear wing on the model, so why not the one from the FOM model? In general, you don’t develop the entire car in one go, it’s an interative process.

          The only reason not to use the FOM model would be if they found a fundamentally different solution, but that ought to be impossible with these regulations.

  2. So the business plan of one of the best if not the best modern F1 team is to risk all of developement of a new era for one championship. I don’t buy it, they can’t be happy to win a constructors or a drivers championship once every 7-8 years. I think the reality is that they don’t want to promise too much this early without seeing the competition.

    It sounds unbelieve that any top men at redbull was willing to give Mercedes or Ferrari a massive advantage in the new era for the sake of barely winning a single drivers championship. They must have taken the risk of developing that car knowing the absolute limits of what achievable without hindering performance for this years car. I expect them to be on top form when it comest to Australia at least on par with Mercedes.

    1. Alberto nobody has said anything about risking it all for one Championship. These are not the same circumstances as 2013 into 2014, so it is very very unlikely that RBR have put themselves into another 7-8 year drought. But they really had no choice last season when it quickly became obvious that they were going to be very competitive with Mercedes, to then see the season through while it was at hand. Mercedes would have had to do the same thing, and so I think what CH is talking about here is more the Ferraris and the McLarens for example, who weren’t fighting for the Championships and barely were in for wins either, so why not for them start focusing on 2022 early.

      Let’s not forget that they had all started these cars a few years ago only to be forced to set them aside due to the realities of the pandemic. No I’m pretty sure CH is confident Mercedes had to distract themselves somewhat last season from this car too, but in general I think the top teams are well capable of doing both at the same time. There’s the fact that the rules are more strict in terms of finding unique innovations that might set someone quite apart, there’s the budget caps doing that too, and there’s the fact that the power units are now quite equivalent to each other, so no team is going to have a huge advantage there, like Mercedes enjoyed for so long starting in 2014.

      But yeah for sure I can see CH not wanting to promise too much for now, because it is such an unknown anyway, way moreso than is usually at the cusp of a new season. I just think CH is pointing out that some teams were able to put more resources into their cars, but ultimately I doubt he is losing any sleep over that, it is what it is and they had to do what they had to do last year, and onward and upward we go.

  3. RedBull gives you lies.

    I mean seriously! Do they think anyone believes a word of it?

    1. Noframingplease (@)
      9th February 2022, 17:41

      Lies? You mean ‘we don’t develop the car anymore’ like Toto said at the beginnen of the 2021 campaign

    2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      9th February 2022, 17:56

      How ironic, coming from someone who believed every single word Toto Wolff fed him

      1. Absolutely, I don’t get the criticism about horner, seems definitely way more honest than wolff.

    3. What a lot of sour grapes in this sub-thread.

      Ben, surely he doesn’t tell only lies, he can be quite honest at times and it’s usually clear when he’s deflecting or indeed talking entirely self serving stuff, but he and the team are clear racers which is something he rarely strays from. In this case, yeah, they could have been more clear about it just being a show-car, but they did indicate we weren’t to expect anything like the real car and that this was mostly about livery/sponsors.

      A top team putting the onus on others to do well and talking down their own chances, well that’s not really something new, in fact it is probably the wise thing to do. Only Ferrari never do that because they have the italian press and public to impress.

      As for the replies, well. See above paragraph, and my first sentence.

      1. @bosyber in Horner’s own statements, he’s referring to that show car as being the RB18 though – and did they really say “don’t expect anything like the real car” in their statements either, and that it was just a livery launch?

        Their media blitz is still pushing the line that this is the RB18 and is not making any references to this being just a livery launch, and they have been no statements saying “this is just the show car”.

        1. @anon

          These cars are constantly evolving, so there never is a final setup. It’s more of a platform.

          None of the teams are ever going to show the latest developments and tricks during the pre-season presentation, especially when the changes are so big. These are all show cars in that sense.

        2. @aapje, anon, well I do think that from what I understood (I more or less skipped it, expecting something like it turned out to be) the presentation went a bit far in pretending this was anything like the real RB18.

          So, yes, I do think the presentation was a bit odd for that reason, but as to what was actually shown, @aapje is right that to expect much more is odd; when has Red Bull shown a clearly visible actual season accurate car especially this early? Didn’t we all more or less expect every team to just use something like a version of the FOM model car to show their livery, making the Haas actually a positive surprise?

          1. @bosyber

            I don’t tend to watch these presentations, because they tend to be more marketing than giving any serious info. I’ll just look at the pictures, but even those I don’t pay too much attention to. Pre-season testing is when it gets serious.

            These events are more like a lot of fashion shows where they send out the models in ridiculous clothing to get free advertising from magazines that love to publish silly stuff. Then the clothing the brands actually sell is way more sensible. The clothing on the catwalk isn’t designed for sale and the clothing in the store is not intended for mere marketing.

            Similarly, the cars they show during these press events are not meant to win races, but are meant to show off the liveries and for the media to be able to post new pictures next to their stories.

          2. @bosyber you don’t have to look that far back to times when Red Bull were launching a relatively advanced and functional car during the pre-season period.

            If you look at what Red Bull did with their car launches in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, in all of those cases the car launch was held with a fully functional car which was either sent onto track for a shakedown run on the same day that the launch took place, or undertook the shakedown trial the day after the launch event.

            In 2017, even though there was a major change in the regulations, Red Bull really didn’t hold back a lot with their launch – mainly because, with the aero correlation issues they were having, their biggest concern was to get the car onto track a.s.a.p. and to begin collecting data to assist with that aero correlation work. The car specification therefore remained pretty much static from the first pre-season test through to the fourth race of the season – it wasn’t until the Spanish GP that they introduced their first noticeable upgrade package.

            This year, though, even though this is supposed to have been an RB18, we have Horner and Marko suggesting that it is marginal at best if they will get a pre-season shakedown done, with the latter having discussed cancelling it altogether to avoid the risk of missing the first test.

            Does it not seem a little odd that, if the team really are so marginal on their production deadlines, that they would then divert resources towards an unusually early launch date compared to what they have done for quite a few years now? Does it not seem odd that, given they would normally launch a fully functioning car that would then be shaken down within 24 hours of launch, that they’ve cancelled those original plans and might even cancel any form of shakedown?

  4. Horner trying to make Redbull the underdogs again, they are in no different position than any other of the top few teams. If they’ve messed it up bad luck, if they have managed to nail it and dominate good on them.
    It will be for the other teams to catch them.

    1. @johnrkh Is he really? It think you just want to see that in his comments, no? What particularly has he said that makes you say he is ‘trying to make Redbull the underdogs again?’

      1. @robbie Try reading rather than just looking at what is written :)

        1. @johnrkh Ah, so use paranoia then?

        2. I think reading between the lines to find stuff that isn’t there is wrong.

  5. Barry beans, who’s Toto Wolff?

    1. I think I remember some guy of that name, he used to be the Merc team principal, until he was fired, left the sport in general opprobrium, spent a few years in the brig for his misdeeds and was never heard ever since

      But it was in a far away galaxy, a long time ago.

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