The new RB5 for Red Bull Racing's 2009 Formula One effort was nosed out of its garage in Spain this morning with Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel to take it around the Jerez de la Frontera circuit for its installation laps.
"I thought I'd let Seb do the boring installation laps and the running-in," joked teammate Mark Webber who added, "the car looks fantastic and I'm looking forward to driving it."
Indeed the RB5 drew a lot of favorable reviews for its sleek styling at today's presentation. Like many F1 teams this year, Red Bull did not have a big media splash, instead opting to use the upcoming Jerez F1 pre-season testing days for their launch.
Still, they did set up a nice unveiling area, allowing their two team drivers to uncover the car to the delight of the press on hand to witness the newest challenger for this year's crown.
Vettel drove a few laps and commented, "It's good that we got the car running without any major problems, but it's much too early to say anything about performance."
The team have pushed the envelope on the design, choosing to take some risks in an attempt to catch up with the perennial F1 front-runners McLaren and Ferrari, and leapfrog BMW and Renault.
"2009 arguably sees the biggest rule change for around twenty years," said Adrian Newey, RBR's chief technical officer. "We have taken a clean sheet, blue sky approach, looking at the implications of these rules and how to interpret them, while not changing things simply for the sake of change. Apart from the gearbox internals, there is hardly any carry over from RB4."
The high nose and front wing particularly stand out amongs the 2009 challengers. A complex wing design is combined with a long, slender nose cone. The outer edges of the wing have only a single flap, but that flap is split lengthwise, allowing only a small part of it to be adjusted.
With the designers having placed engine cooling outlets on each side of the engine cover, the sidepods can now be notably smaller than most of the other 2009 designs, with a strong taper to their shape.
Speaking of the engine, Red Bull should see a benefit from Renault having gained permission from the FIA for some engine improvements for the sake of parity with their competitors. Whether that -- or the Renault KERS system -- will be enough will be seen in a month's time when the teams first take to the track in anger.