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Red Bull gives nothing away at launch of RB9
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Feb 2013   |  6:09 pm GMT  |  103 comments

Red Bull launched its new 2013 challenger the RB9 today in a ceremony at the team’s base in Milton Keynes, near Silverstone.

But we will have to wait until testing starts next week to see what changes and evolutions the team has made as the launch car gave little or nothing away.

It’s going to be a tough season for all the top teams and Red Bull know that the successes of the last three years mean nothing when the new season starts. If anything, maintaining the astonishing work rate and inspiration gets harder with each passing year and keeping their noses in front will be a challenge this year.

Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel said that he expects a very hard grind of a season, with little to choose between the top car and driver combinations, consistency and getting all the details right every time will be crucial,

“It will be tough; tough to beat Mark (Webber), tough to beat the other guys and the other teams because they will try everything to beat us. Obviously the last three years have been very good for us and we’ve managed to beat them but there’s no guarantee or nothing that helps us to keep winning and keep doing a good job. So we really have to focus every single time – or in our case every single lap – and try to get everything together.”

Mark Webber begins his seventh season with the Red Bull team and is now the oldest driver in F1 at the age of 36.

Despite some heckling from the sidelines of his own team, from Red Bull special advisor Helmut Marko, Webber believes that he will have a chance to prove this year that he can challenge for the championship and sustain that challenge,

“I do believe I can have a crack at the Championship again this year, as I have done in previous seasons,” he said. “That’s what I’m getting up each day thinking.

“The team know I need 100 percent support, you can’t win World Championships with 99 percent support. That’s what I’m confident of.”

As for the technical side of the car, we have already seen the new models from McLaren and Ferrari, so all eyes were on the Red Bull to see what innovations Adrian Newey and his team had come up with as they seek a forth consecutive title winning car.

If Ferrari were playing their cards close to their chests this week by unveiling a car with only a handful of obvious updates from the 2012 model, then Red Bull took it one step further; technical experts were straining to see what changes there were on the “new” Red Bull; perhaps there is a game at play, as they keep the testing car out of site. We will see over the next few days when it hits the track in Jerez. Like the Ferrari, it is sure to be quite different at the final test in Barcelona when the definitive aerodynamic package for the first race is bolted on.

It will be next week, therefore, before we get a real chance to technically review the RB9. Adrian Newey is famous for vetting photos of the new car and consequently the launch photos give little away, with geometry that appears very much a carbon copy of the RB8, apart from a change to the detailing around the retained stepped nose.

Echoing the sentiments of other technical directors like Lotus’ James Allison at his launch, that the car was an evolution, with significant detail changes, Newey said that the new car was very much an evolution of the 2012 model, “It’s really been a case of refining the RB8,” he said. “There are no huge changes. It’s very much an evolutionary car. All the principles the same as last year.

“The devil has very much been in the detail with this car. We’ve tidied up some bits that we felt could be improved on. Development is now the key through the year.”

Asked what he thought the key to the season would be technically, Newey replied, “Understand the tyres; every time we thought we understood them last year some fresh surprise would come, and the change in the tyres will be interesting this year so I’m sure that will be a huge learning area.

“The rest I think will be very much a detailed evolution of the aerodynamics and trying to tune the car to the drivers’ liking.”

It will be interesting when testing starts, to see what development they have done, especially around the rear of the car, where last year they managed the coanda exhaust, diffuser, brake duct drum cascade and rear wing flows very well.

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Thanks again James. Will be waiting for your tech analysis of Red Bull and Lotus.

Scuderia McLaren

Cue the "Webber does not have an equal chance" and "Red Bull favour Vettel, that's why he is successful" posters.


Hey, Scuderia!

Do I decipher a heavy-handed attempt at intimidation, there? Well, I certainly have no fear of stating my opinion, nor racing Karts! (Ha!) I read two interesting articles concerning the situation at Red Bull racing, today.

Firstly, Mark Webber stated that he felt he had a good shot at the 2013 F1 World Championship if he receives full (quote) "100 per cent, not 90 percent backing from Red Bull Racing"....

Now, Scuderia, why do you suppose Mr. Webber would make such a straight-forward, to the point, statement aimed at RBR management.

I tell you what, Mark Webber has a lot deeper and substantive perspective and insight on what's going on with that Team then any of us F1 fans could ever dream of.... Man, I don't think you really get it!

No F1 Team signs a driver of Mark Webber's caliber and experience without promising him a completely equal shot at that coming season's driver's title. No.2 driver is not acceptable.

There's to be no back-stabbing, confidence destroying comments like those that Helmut Marko pulls out of his backside. No switching car parts from one driver's ride to that of his teammate, especially, when said driver had been quickest the previous practice session. That's how it works. Equal drivers need no favoritism.

The second article I read on RBR was Christian Horner distancing himself from Marko's divisive comments on Webber's abilities. The pitwall management being buddy, buddy, good mates. Enough said on that bull....

Scuderia, Red Bull Racing is far from an harmonious, kissy, huggy, feely outfit, operating in good faith for their equal no.1 drivers. This will be Webber's last season at RBR, no matter the outcome.

The car looks, both, beautiful with the purple color and real quick too!

Scuderia McLaren

"This will be Webber’s last season at RBR, no matter the outcome."

At least we agree on one point Wheels. Webber will not be able to waste yet another year of technical superiority in 2014. Half a decade will be enough opportunity for any driver to show their full worth. Peace out.


Well, Scuderia--

I thought that post would break the ice!

Any ol' how, I appreciate that your a real F1 fan. I love the sport, too! And have for a very long time. Your post and replies are amongst the few I feel worthy of tqaking the time to respond to....

Similarly, this site of James Allen's is the only F1 page I participate in.... I take quick glances at a number of other F1 forums, but usually it's only a moment due to the, often, downright trashy posts. However this site has some seriously informed F1 Petrol Heads--that's great!


lol. I genuinely laughed out loud at your post Wheels. Thanks man.

"The Ghosts of Formula One Seasons Past" Very creative, good one. 😉


By the way, Scuderia....

If you seriously consider that Mark Webber has been "a waste of resources" at Red Bull Racing, well I say total up his points tally (right up your alley!) over the past four seasons and see how many F1 Constructor Titles Red Bull would have to their credit.


Scuderia, Scuderia, my Homey!

Please, read my reply to Tim.... My man, you need a visit from The Ghost of Formula One Season's Past so that you can school yourself on the happenin's and how the sport, you most certainly love, truly operates from season to season....


No F1 Team signs a driver of Mark Webber’s caliber and experience without promising him a completely equal shot at that coming season’s driver’s title. No.2 driver is not acceptable...

If your assumptions are correct, are you saying that RBR have promised MW equal status to SV and he believed them!


Hey, Tim!

Scuderia McLaren is correct.... What I write is my opinion. I'm stating that Scuderia, in my opinion, is an F1 fan who believes that the most talented, quickest F1 driver in a Team paring, or on the grid will come out the big winner. (Vettel vs. Webber for example)

At the same time I'm of the mind that such a scenario is simply not, always, the case. It's really not such a "nut busting" outlook, requiring everyone get their knickers all in a twist....


Wheels, please don't speak on my behalf. Keep your reply to Tim about you and your opinions. Tim, those are DEFINITELY not my opinions. Tim, don't say I didn't warn you.


Hey, Tim!

Of course they promised him the whole deal, and of course he believed them.... Wow, the guy (Mark Webber) is a consummate professional and a Team owning Red Bull's resources are capable of providing Championship quality drives for two drivers.

It's pretty obvious, to me, that there has been some serious politics going on at Red Bull Racing for some time, now.... And the driver who is not benefiting from those behind the scenes manipulations is not going to come out on top.

You see, the problem is that some F1 fans (like Scuderia McLaren) believe that it's always the best (most talented) driver during any one F1 season who wins the World Championship.

Well, I say that is just not the case!

For instance, how many World Championships has Nelson Piquet Sr. won? At the same time, how many times have you read where F1 pundits have rated Piquet as a Top 5 driver of all-time? How about Top 10 of all-time? Top 15--maybe? Dig, he wasn't even the most talented driver or quickest pilot any one of those seasons he won his three F1 Driver World Championships!

An even stronger argument would be that of Damon Hill? Then there's Jody Sheckter? You could evn toss (for argument's sake) Nigel Mansell or Mika Hakkinen into the mix, along with several more--Graham Hill, John Surtees or Phil Hill, for that matter.

Hell, Ronnie Peterson nor Gilles Villeneuve, two of the most talented drivers the sport of F1 has ever seen, have not a World Championship trophy between them! Some say that Peterson was superior to his Teammate Mario Andretti during Andretti's 1978 World champion victory season? Then again, there's Chris Amon....

Well, now I'm going too far back for you guys....

Scuderia McLaren

Dont walk into the maze Tim. There is no way out. I have tried to clarify what is "being said" a few times.

Mike from Colombia

Vettel is better than Webber.

However, I think it is also fair to say that Marko is biased and has done a good job of trying to destabilise Webber.

He threw a hissy-fit when Webber was leading the championship in 2010. He went out of his way to put Webber in his "place" fro turkey 2010 onwards.

Every company has a Marko in their ranks..biased and no-one quite knows how the ended up where they have got to.

If DM ever leaves F1, well then Marko will have nowhere left to hide and will be royally fired.

Scuderia McLaren

I'm sure Mercedes would take him. They are taking all sorts at the moment. Perhaps he would be the cheif designer or technical director. 🙂


I would not bet on that. He is highly regarded at Ferrari. He did not arrive to F1 with DM. But he is responsible for the young driver's project and, as such, wants to put one of his drivers into Mark Webber's car. I think Mark is a fantastic driver and a big boy now and not only can he take the heath but he has done so successfully since Vettel first beat him in 2009. Marko failed to convince DM that the sort of talent Vettel has is a product of the upbringing program he manages.


What size are those posters available in? 🙂

Scuderia McLaren


Probably between 65 - 85kg on average and 5 - 6 ft on average. The average man, I think, falls into that weight and height range. Whether they are available HWS, I dont know.

Its good to joke.


The paint job looks brilliant, esp the purple additions. It will look spectacular under the lights in singapore and abu dhabi.


Less spectacular, the jeans worn by the two drivers. I'm sure Ron Dennis would have a word to say about looking smart on launch day in front of the world's media! 🙂


Not only the jeans...they didn't tuck their shirts in either.

Imagine the look of disdain on Ron's face.


Now, THAT's what a call a paint job up to F1 standards. The airbrushed purple just looks stunning and very sic-fi!

As usual it is Red Bull, Mclaren and (hopefully) Mercedes with the best liveries.

Ferrari's paint job just looks over-designed. Too much white and a very questionable white swoosh all over the car. Somehow they gotta change their scuderia logo. It looks like it is stuck on the car. It doesn't match the angles.


No one has figured out yet that this paint bends giving an aerodynamic advantage.


And has since been outlawed by Charlie for 2014 onwards.


Well I actually like the Ferrari design this year, it's the most it will ever change really, same with Red Bull, they've had the same basic design since the Sauber C14 in the 90's, that's why any small change like this is always welcome. As for the packet-of-cigarettes Ferrari logo... yes it's ugly.


The Ferrari is fine. If they make it look like a pack of Marlboros, so what. Since they can't put the name on the car, they have to be creative in expressing their sponsor's presence. At least they don't have to look for pay drivers and hopefully never will.


I wonder if the JAonF1 website RBR team colours will change to match .. ? 🙂


Fine by me as long as he doesn´t add the step nose to the website 🙂

Val from montreal

DOOM has arrived ! This car will crush them all !


That's just a redecorated RB8 isn't it?



I wouldn't be surprised if it actually is the RB8, after all ,I remember Newey said he wasn't sure they would make it to the first test.


.... with a decent alternator and KERS system I hope.

Come to think of it, that's all the RB9 would need to blow the opposition off again.


How is that then? Considering the Mclaren was the faster car last year?


The McLaren was that much faster, they finished 3rd in the championship & could no longer hold onto possibly the fastest driver in the field.


I would say that the RB8's results speak for themself. Admittedly the RB8 had better drivers and crew but still, a decent car all the same.


Thank you for the article James.

Indeed it looks the same as the RB8. We will have a more clear view about which car has the upper hand after the Malaysian GP which will be the first long break of the season.

As Sebastian Vettel rightfully (and also Fernando Alonso) said this season will be more hard as the top teams will be closer then before.

For sure we all be dazzled by the magic of Newey at one point of the season, combined with the speed of the Red Bull drivers.


I think the key and the tricks are somewhere in the new purple areas. LOL!!!

It is possible they plan for this year is the same as last year. Small steps in the right direction as they go. It worked very well for them. I expect them to be fast and ready to win


Similar to the RB8 (as it would be), but it seems to be missing the intake in the step from the RB8. Maybe this year they installed air-con instead of the intake to keep the drivers legs cool!

Agree that the purple looks cool; after years of having basically the same livery it mixes it up a bit.


I am sure it is a championship winning car. Go Vettel Go ... Vettel World Champion 2013 ...

Bring Back Murray

Might as well just engrave the trophy now





Keeping fingers crossed for Seb Vettel.



On the face of it it seems McLaren have introduced the most change all good if what we hear can be believed, but the best laid plans can go wrong as it did for McLaren last year when they should have won the drivers championship with Lewis Hamilton. I think the pull rod suspension is the biggest risk they've taken, but aerodynamically they seen to be significantly improved.

Bring Back Murray

I think the biggest risk they've taken is letting the fastest driver on out and out pace in F1 leave and go to Mercedes. They'll be a shadow of the team they were without Hammy. Jenson can only take them so far.

Scuderia McLaren

"I think the biggest risk they’ve taken is letting the fastest driver on out and out pace in F1 leave and go to Mercedes."

What! When did Vettel go to Mercedes! Was I under a rock?! Just joking. 🙂

Just a side note. Jenson beat Hamilton in 2011 comprehensively, and more or less matched him in 2012. I am refering to final WDC standings and overall pts.

Jenson only genuinely lost in WDC to Lewis in 2010, which was his first year at McLaren.

Before everyone screams at me, I think Lewis has more native talent than Jenson, I think Lewis is faster, I think Lewis has more potential, but to say McLaren will be "a shadow of a team" is maybe a bit harsh considering the end WDC results between team mates in 2011 and 2012.


Well there's something in that, but the car just might be very very good, certainly many people seem to think so.


Yes but the high expectations are for next season and not much for this one. Of course Lewis can do some magic but I don´t see him winning the WCD this season. Besdides there is the shake up at the top. Lauda and Wolff. I don´t trust them. Brawn doesn´t seem to be a sure thing for next year. And this season who knows.


McLaren didn´t let him go. Lewis wanted to leave. And I don´t understand his move because Mercedes is not exactly Red Bull


Mercedes dress code is a little less strict. Lewis felt constricted with all that shirt tucked in business.


I meant that the McLaren car may be very good not the Mercedes. - Good enough for Button to win the WDC. I suppose it was really the only viable option open to him at the time, but they paid big bucks for him so presume they are serious about their intentions.


What does your comment have to do with the launch of the RB9?


By inference it appears on the face of it that Red Bull and Ferrari as compared to McLaren have not gone for a big enough step improvement, but appearances can be deceiving.


Hmm... Interesting!

In German, ''Red Bull nine'' means something entirely different

And wouldn't it be a bitter sweet moment of the German world champion got beat by the German works team #irony


Frankly I reckon it would be a pretty sweet moment if the German world champion got beat by anyone...but I'm Australian so I might be a little biased. Go Webber!


In German? do tell...


@ jb HAM

Well the English word nine sounds similar to the German word nein >>> meaning no.

So Red Bull 9 can be translated as Red Bull no!


So with they livery, Red Bull have just reserved they right to keep making PURPLE TIMES for the 4th straight season. INFINITY probably also has a meaning 🙂


Yes, it means Nissan with a new badge.


RBR are the favourites. I started to count Vettel out after his DNF at Monza last year. Won't make that mistake again. With Newey around, great leaps forward are always possible at various pts of the season.


But you don't give Vettel some credit? He was literally driving rings around Webber from Spa to Texas, when Sebs driving at his best no one can touch him not even Alonso, thats why Fernando veetoed Vettel from joining Ferrari, he knows Seb would beat him.


...but Webber did a decent bit of outqualifying him around the same time?


Not sure about the purple bits- looks a bit like a bruise...

Or some other blemish. Must say, red, yellow, blue and purple seems a bit garish all in the same design.


I'm not into American Football, but it would have been a great marketing thing for Bernie & co. to launch the new F1 cars at the Super Bowl.


Very expensive and by the time the American GP comes around everyone will have forgotten. If the American GP was the first of the season then it would be a great idea.




Look pretty good for a soft drink company.

Can't wait to see the real RB9 in Melbourne.


Wow a huge amount of Infiniti branding this year. Is there a reason why they didn't rebadge the engine?


maybe 2014 RB will be Infiniti turbo powered 🙂

I did hear an interview a few years ago where they said jokingly that they might make their own engines :))


Yep, it's because the engine is still a Renault.

Infiniti is just a sponsor, but considering that Infiniti is Nissan's premium brand it's just about possible that we may see a real Infiniti F1 car one day. I'd be surprised if that happens any time in the near future, but who knows?


Fear the RB9.


The old saying -" when your on a good thing -stick with it"

Side pods and rear floor look very different. Who knows how much it will change and given how often they are copied who would blame them. The back looks capable of housing a passive DDRS system- given they had one last year Im guessing they will be toying with a new one. Now we await the silver arrows !


Red Bulls system last year was active, not passive. It will be interesting to see how far down the road Newey is with sorting the problems of a passive system.


Am Aware of that- hence the "new DDRS" I didnt qualify last years

Bring Back Murray

"If anything, maintaining the astonishing work rate and inspiration gets harder with each passing year and keeping their noses in front will be a challenge this year."

Not too sure I agree on that one. Instead of fighting it out with two world class drivers this season they've only got one to worry about. This could be their easiest walk in the park yet.


If i'm not mistaken Hulkenberg and Perez are in competitive cars this season?


Only one? The F1 field must be smaller than I thought...


Between this and the Sauber there's some very attractive liveries on the grid this year.


Agreed! That Sauber looks brilliant. I have a sneaking suspicious they may pull a mini "Brawn" and the the fastest car at Melbourne...


I've read from some in attendance on twitter that this reveal was a joke and not worth the time to attend. They put the car on display at a distance, didn't let anyone take pictures and then put a cover over the car very quickly.


Yes, but after the launch they invited all the teams back stage to take a peek, handed out tech-specs for all the upcoming upgrades, and then they had cake.


I read the same thing, personally I think it's all a bit 'smoke and mirrors'. Trying to create the illusion/impression there is something tricky up their sleeve. Guess we will find out in March.


When you win three straight I guess you can do as you please...


Are we sure it is even purple?? Looks to me a reflection of the lighting?

Also James, what was your take on the brief launch and ban on photos? A number of f1 journos tweeted what a waste of time it was as they gave so little away.

As a fan it seems a little melodramatic and silly compared to the other launches that have been worth reading about and seeing the new cars.


They are the top team, the "hunted" these days and they have become very keen on controlling things


The Infiniti branding is quite strong...

It seems they have renamed the team Infiniti Red Bull Racing


Why didn't they paint the old car in the 2013 colours, 'present the team' and announce that the new car will be at Jerez in two days?

What a joke. RBR likes to present itself as the 'party' team of F1, and here they are, doing what can only be described as a 'pickaboo' presentation.

Antonio Palmiotto

Hi James,

Is there any rumour going on with the front suspension???


Full analysis once the testing starts


So this year it will only be interesting if Ferrari can make a really good car for Alonso.

Serisously i can't see how will someone be able to stop that team again, I don't expect Mercedes to be close to the top, any of the McLaren drivers pushing the car to the limits like Fernando, Kimi, Seb or Lewis and i don't think Lotus can keep the pace of a development race through the whole season, specially with the big changes coming for 2014. Please Ferrari, please...


Last year's Ferrari WAS good. Look at how close they came to winning the WDC.


Alonso was good, the car not so much.


They started with a fat nose and end iit with the purple color. RB9 the Aubergine f1 car of 2013! Sorry but this car gets every year worst in apperiance, something unexpected from a marketing oriented drink firm. A blue and silver ish detail paint job would have been far more interesting to me.

Apart from that I just wonder how all these new cars would hadle heat with those side pods been on such a diet this year.? Very curious to see first pics from radiator instalations.


Not related in any way to the article, but...great to see some F1 supporters awaken from their winter hibernation and begin to warm up by professing their support to their chosen drivers when these cars are unveilled....

can't wait to see all these creations out on the tarmac being put through their paces 🙂


Wow! the purple makes the RB9 looks like some kinky fashion product. Ferrari's long white line at the base feels Coca Cola. Mclaren and Sauber still looks the best to me at the moment. Force India seems normal minus the duck nose.


I'm probably the only one but I like that Redbull and Lotus have kept the stepped noses (for now). The nose in itself is ugly but as a package it makes the car look so much more purposeful and aggressive. I think putting function ahead of modesty is much more sexy.


Why are F1 journos so limp kneed? Red Bull releases a car but ... oops ... won't allow anyone to photograph it. And yet nobody holds them to account. McLaren just released a car and let Craig Scarborough touch the thing. Full respect to them for losing the paranoia. I'm tired of it. Red Bull, I hope you lose. F1 journos: Grow a pair and say what's what.


Honestly, I wish teams launched for the new year showing their OLD cars, painted in new colours.

McLaren launched a car with a fake rear floor. Nothing wrong with that, at least they put on a show doing it. Most others keep some things hidden: an old wing here, a missing vortex generator there...

Red Bull banned photographers, put the car on the other side of the room, said: "Here it is!", then covered it up again. If they were Williams I wouldn't have thought much of it, except it IS RBR, the team that is keen to put a wild party everywhere they go racing. What a joke.

Launches used to mean something, back when testing was free and teams chose either to launch early and start testing early, or be late and spend more time designing the bloody thing. Not the case anymore.

So please, everyone, just show us a car, ANY car, so we get a general idea what the colours will be like, and reveal the actual new cars during testing, where photographers with long lenses can try to give us the best possible view in a slow hairpin/chicane. We don't really learn anything from the launches themselves, anyway, because teams don't publish the really interesting things if they can help it.

Either that, or free-up pre-season testing.

Tornillo Amarillo

I don't like purple, it is not a color for a car.

Is Infiniti going to make purple cars? Really they need this?

You cannot win a Championship with this, no sir, I hope.

No purple please, save Deep Purple.


Does Red Bull sell a drink in a purple can, somewhere?

What if Coca-Cola bought HRT's assets? Sorry, just thinking out loud...


Hi James, don't you find Webber's comment strange ?

Quote "That's what I'm getting up each day thinking. The team know I need 100 per cent support. You cannot win world championships with 99 per cent support. That's what I'm confident of."

I think it's a public statement. Back me properly and i can win otherwise same old same old.


So, the "experts" have already declared the RB9 the winner, during off season, amazing.


Same as how the major changes on the McLaren are assumed to work & are the teams saviour.


There are some apparent changes - the nose step, covered above, is a little further forward than last year, side pods changed. Not sure the RB9 is the best aero solution out there, but we all know the tricks Newey uses. And that not being the fastest in a straight line has not stopped them the last 3 years...

On unrelated - Having looked at some other cars, especially the STR8, is there going to be an issue with the vanity panel when the nosecones/front wing assembly is changed during the races, or even bumped/partially damaged during races - are we going to see these panels come loose and become dangerous debris? I mention the STR8 because theirs really looks like it could do just that.

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