Today we saw the launch of the Red Bull Racing RB18, a car designed for the 2022 Formula 1 season under the dramatically changed F1 rules, but in reality, Red Bull has appeared to have tricked everyone by launching a totally fake car and yet still calls it an RB18 throughout the launch event.
The closest Red Bull team boss Christian Horner confirmed that the RB18 unveiled on Wednesday is not the final version was the usual rhetoric heard at such events; that the car that will be on track at the first race in Bahrain will be very different from what it is today.
But this is not entirely honest, as technical analysts have immediately seen that Red Bull has simply taken the FIA mule car and dressed it in the new Red Bull livery. Therefore, the real RB18 would actually be seen at the first testing event later this month. This is not unprecedented, but never before has a team been so blatant with providing something completely different to the real car, to the point where very little of it conforms to the 2022 regulations.
TJ13 has learned that much of the car isn’t even carbon fibre, the standard material used to manufacture F1 cars, but in fact glass fibre and steel.
As for the competition, rumour has it that specific details of Mercedes and Ferrari won’t be shown on their launch cars, and what we will see during their events will be the actual car and not a total fake like Red Bull. More in keeping with what usually occurs during a new car launch.
Haas are the only other team to have revealed their actual car, albeit an early iteration.
Christian Horner confessed that “With the new regulation changes this year, the whole philosophy has changed, which means that every component is different from last year’s car,” during the RB18 presentation.
“It’s a blank sheet of paper for every team. By the time we get to the first race, the RB18 won’t look much like it does today, the evolution will be very fast as we progress through the season.”
The truth is however, Red Bull are incredibly worried about revealing any detail to a competitor, even taking to showcasing a mule design demonstrated by the FIA over 6 months ago with details that are not actually part of the current set of aero regulations.
For Horner, the pantomime continued with a speech that continued to highlight the difficulty in designing the real car whilst pointing at the fake one.
“It’s a steep learning curve for everyone and it’s a development contest between the first and last race. We think we have a good car for 2022, the RB18 is coming to life and to see it today is fantastic.”
“It’s been a huge effort from the team and I can’t wait to see it on the track now. We plan to build on 2021, we have the number one on the car this year and now the challenge is to keep it and defend that title with Max. The excitement and hard work of 2021 has really galvanised the team and that means we go into 2022 in great shape for the season ahead.”