Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that his team will run with the revised RB8 chassis rolled out for the final two days of the final test in Barcelona at next week’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
In a dramatic piece of Formula 1 winter showmanship last Saturday morning at the Circuit de Catalunya, the world champions unveiled what effectively amounted to a ‘B’ chassis which had been flown in from the UK the previous night with the most obvious changes new front and rear wings, rear aerodynamics, new diffuser and a new exhaust layout.
With the exhaust layout, and therefore flow of gasses over the rear of the car, particularly different to that on the launch-spec RB8 it was therefore somewhat disappointing for the team that on the final day of the test Sebastian Vettel completed a measly 23 laps following a morning off and then a gearbox problem.
But speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, Horner said the revised car had been running well when on track – which was just 93 laps in total – and therefore the revisions would now be taken to the first race.
Asked about whether the ‘new’ car would be shipped to Melbourne, he said: “It’s amazing how these things get construed. We introduced another car in Barcelona because it had an update package which was always the plan. All the major teams introduced quite a major update prior to the first race and you leave it late because you don’t want the concepts to be copied by your competitors.
“Those upgrades seem to be working okay and they’ll certainly be on the car in Australia in 10 days’ time.”
Interestingly, at the end of the interview, Horner also plumped for Jenson Button when asked for the driver he thought would pose the biggest threat to Vettel’s attempts to win a hat-trick of world titles.
Asked for a driver aside from his own team’s Mark Webber who he thought would push the German hardest, he replied: “Lewis is going to be pushing hard this year, it’s an important year for him. Jenson Button had a great year last year. Fernando Alonso you can’t rule out, he’s a world class driver, and it will be interesting to see how Kimi Raikkonen fares on his return.” But when pressed to give one name, he said: “Probably Jenson.”