RB9 looks to extend Red Bull purple patch
Red Bull have rolled out their new RB9 car, which they hope will deliver another brace of titles to the team in 2013 in the driver and constructor championships.
Red Bull Racing has revealed their new car for 2013, with the basic car looking much more garishly purple than before but otherwise comfortingly familiar, even keeping something of a stepped nose for the new season.
"It's an evolutionary car," admitted the team's chief designer Adrian Newey, saying that the RB9 was a matter of refinement rather than radical new ideas. "The most significant change is not the regulations, it's the new Pirelli tyres.
"There are no huge changes," he added. "All the principles the same as last year."
As for retaining the stepped nose, Newey explained that that there was a nod to having a vanity panel, but that it was all down to the weight of the component that would required for what would be just a cosmetic detail.
"It doesn't extend very far forward, otherwise it becomes unjustifiable in weight," he said, echoing the concerns of his Lotus F1 counterpart James Allison on Monday.
Newey added that the RB9 didn't currently have a passive DRS system, but that he was open to the idea. His concern was that it was hard to find a system that was reliable and was able to "withstand following another car without being triggered at moments that would be embarrassing."
Newey said that as far as he could tell from the team launches to date, the new Lotus, McLaren and Ferrari cars had all similarly taken an evolutionary approach to this year's design - but he added that it's the small details that tell.
Attendees at the event in Milton Keynes didn't have much chance to assess the RB9 for any such small details. The audience was firmly warned that photography of the new car was strictly forbidden - a prohibition that lasted all of two minutes before pictures started leaking out onto the Internet via Twitter - and at the end of the launch event the new car was hastily recovered before anyone could get too close to it.
Sebastian Vettel himself didn't help matters, defying the can to whip out his own camera to take shots of his new company car after helping to peel back the covering sheets. He said that he had yet to decide on a new pet name for the car.
Vettel was in good spirits at the launch, answering one question about whether he would achieve world domination again in 2013 with a witty: "I'm German but I didn't say that. I have no moustache."
Asked in German about whether what strategy he had in mind for the season, Vettel raised his pinkie finger to the corner of his mouth, Dr Evil, style, and replied; "We're making our secret plans!"
In a more serious vein, Vettel added that he had no plans to skip any of the upcoming test sessions, like his rival Fernando Alonso at Ferrari. "Testing is limited. I look forward to driving and sharing the days with Mark," he said.
His team mate Mark Webber was also present for the launch, and insisted that he was still in with a shot of picking up a world championship of his own this season.
"I feel I can be a contender for the title," said the veteran Australian driver. "I know I need I need 100 per cent support, I can't do it with 99 per cent."
"It doesn't matter which driver wins as long as it's our car," insisted team principal Christian Horner when asked whether the team would be 'playing favourites' with their drivers in 2013.
Webber said he hadn't been following the unveiling of any other team cars launched so far in the last week. "I've been focused on this baby," he said. "I haven't seen a single photo of another car!"