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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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.


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.


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.

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…


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.


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.


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.


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 🙂


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.


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.

Antonio Palmiotto

Hi James,

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


Full analysis once the testing starts


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.


The Infiniti branding is quite strong…

It seems they have renamed the team Infiniti Red Bull Racing


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


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…


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…

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…


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


Fear the RB9.


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?


Look pretty good for a soft drink company.

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


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.




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.


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?


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.

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