There was a time when purple was used by royals to signify their difference from everyday folk and one can perhaps understand if, after three years of Championship success, Red Bull Racing was not feeling a little regal. In reality, of course, there is no such thought process behind the decision but rather the usual deciding factor in all matters F1 – money. The RB9 features purple bodywork in order to accommodate the desires of Infiniti, which has taken over the sidepods, replacing the traditional Red Bull branding.
Red Bull and Infiniti now share the rear wing. The partnership is clearly important to the team as it seeks to maintain primary position in the pecking order with the Renault-Nissan parternship, its engine supplier. The team is pictured about with Infiniti’s Simon Sproule.
The RB9 is clearly a development of Adrian Newey’s successful RB6, RB7 and RB8 designs, with few visible changes beyond the colour scheme. This is no great surprise as the design team remains little changed with Rob Marshall as Chief Designer and Peter Prodromou as Head of Aerodynamics. The car features a stepped nose, similar to that seen last year. The team says that the biggest challenge this year will be the new Pirelli tyres and that the first team to truly understand them will have an advantage. Newey also says that scope for development this year was very limited given that the rules are very similar to 2012.
“It’s an evolutionary car,” Newey said. “There were no big regulation changes over the winter. The most significant change is not the regulations, it’s the new Pirelli tyres, but we’re only going to find out anything about them in testing. It’s really been a case of refining the RB8. 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.”
The car will be raced this year (as usual) by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.