Red Bull unveiled its new RB3 at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on January 26th, the first car to be produced for the team by renowned designer Adrian Newey. Formerly a championship-winning designer for Williams and McLaren, Newey joined Red Bull last year and has been focusing on development of the RB3 since the middle of last season.
It's plain to see Newey's touches in the new car, which is not dissimilar to previous McLarens. It has a fairly narrow, sweepingly curved nose and triple-deck, bowed front wing, and along with sculpted side-pods the housing round the Renault engine is tightly constructed. Red Bull's livery remains much the same, although the drivers' race suits have altered a little in appearance.
"As far as the aerodynamic regulations are concerned, the last big change came ahead of the 2005 season," said chief technical officer Newey. "As such, the car is an evolution of ideas that have been seen before, but aggressively packaged in a car that we hope will have a lot of development potential."
"Undoubtedly some aspects of RB3 are 'McLarenesque' and are, to some extent, a development of the work I was doing when I was there. In other areas, there are derivatives of what has been done here at Red Bull and, of course, there are some completely fresh ideas."
Technical director Mark Smith commented: "Maybe I'm an eternal optimist, but I expect to see us make a good step fowrard. As an absolute minimum I believe we will reach the target area we have set ourselves."
"Technically I am looking forward to seeing how the car runs, because there are several different design philosophies in Formula One and Adrian has a different philosophy to the one I witnessed in my previous four or five years at Renault, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out."
This season David Coulthard is joined by Mark Webber to form the race line up, while Red Bull confirmed that Robert Doornbos will be the official test and reserve driver and Michael Ammermuller the second tester. Team principal Christian Horner said that currently there are no plans to run a third driver during the Friday practice sessions of race weekends.
Webber, who gave the RB3 its initial installation laps in the morning, wants to fight with the big names. "We're going up against big manufacturers but we want to get amongst those guys and that's what we're here for, to go out and make a difference," said the Australian. "It's not about just tooling round and not being competitive; we want to be competitive this year."
Coulthard stressed Red Bull's need to move up the grid. "The first step has to be to get out of the back division, which is where we've been for the last two years, and trying to get into the middle division, which means beating manufacturer teams which have been around for longer than the Red Bull organisation," he commented. "That has to be the goal, I believe it's achievable. Only time will tell whether this car can deliver or not."
Horner echoed his drivers' objectives. "F1 is looking at a stellar year, there are so many little but significant changes that have gone on during the last few months," he said. "Michael's retirement, Fernando moving, Adrian not at McLaren any more, there is a lot of significant changes that have happened, so hopefully we can get in amongst the big boys whenever possible."
RB3 technical specifications
Chassis: Composite monocoque structure, designed and built in-house, carrying the Renault V8 engine as fully stressed member
Transmission: Seven-speed gearbox, longitudinally mounted with hydraulic system for power shift and clutch operation. AP Racing clutch
Wheels: AVUS Racing, Front: 12.7in x 13in, Rear: 13.4in x 13in
Front suspension: Aluminium alloy uprights, upper and lower carbon wishbones and pushrods, torsion bar springs and anti roll bars, Multimatic dampers
Rear suspension: Aluminium alloy uprights, upper and lower carbon wishbones and pushrods, torsion bar springs and anti roll bars, Multimatic dampers
Brakes: Brembo calipers / Hitco carbon disks and pads
Electronics: Integrated Magneti Marelli (engine) and Pi (chassis) electronic control system
Renault RS27 Engine:
Number of cylinders: 8
Number of valves: 32
Vee angle: 90 degrees
Power output: Not disclosed
Engine construction: Cylinder block in cast aluminium
Engine management: Renault
Ignition system: Magneti Marelli