Red Bull's missing RB16B fuels tech secret intrigue

Formula 1 teams may be masters of trying to disguise secrets of their new cars when they are first revealed – but Red Bull has taken things to a new level.

Red Bull's missing RB16B fuels tech secret intrigue

The Milton Keynes-based team appears to have gone out of its way to make sure that no detailed images of its new RB16B can be accessed by rival teams prior to the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

After conducting a filming day at Silverstone with both its RB15 car from 2019 and the new RB16B on Wednesday, it was noticeable that of the 76 images the team released after running, none of them were of the new car.

Shots were captured of Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Alex Albon all in action and in the garage over the full day of running, but each was captured driving the RB15 only.

All of the full car garage shots, panning shots and front views were of the old car. The RB16B was missing in action.

While it would not be amiss of a second-rate team and photographer to accidentally send out the wrong car images and omit any shots of the new machine, Red Bull is a sharp outfit that knows what it is doing. So you can bet that the choice of images that were released, and those that remain hidden for now, was deliberate.

Read Also:

And the most likely explanation for why Red Bull is not showing off its RB16B just yet is that it wants to keep its new car design tweaks secret for now.

A team as competitively single-minded on winning as Red Bull will always want to stop prying rivals getting a good glimpse of any design it has done until the last minute – so it won't want to give them a head start in being able to get the experts to pore over photographs of the car right now.

The area of its car that Red Bull most likely wants to keep secret is the rear – both in terms of its exact suspension layout after adopting the Mercedes style track rod/lower arm configuration but also the section surrounding the exhausts and gearbox.

The team could also have some tricks up its sleeve in terms of how it has addressed the rule changes surrounding the floor – and how it plans to have recovered any lost downforce.

The two launch images that Red Bull revealed earlier this week appeared deliberately darkened in some areas, and featured an interesting flick on the floor ahead of the rear tyre that the team had tried out last year.

For an area of the car that has been so ripe for development over the winter, it is unlikely that Red Bull hasn't moved on quite considerably already.

So how much of what we saw of the RB16B launch images is real design for 2021, and how much a decoy, only Red Bull knows so far.

Teams have been known in the past to fit fake parts to launch cars to throw rivals off the scent, or ensure that the best components aren't actually present when the first shots are spread around in public. It could also be that Red Bull isn't hiding anything, but will want to waste rival teams' time by trying to find out what it could be up to when testing does get underway.

With just three days of testing this year, there is not much time for rivals to copy any interesting ideas off their rivals once the cars are unleashed in public.

The real answer about what Red Bull is hiding will not be known until Bahrain testing, and even then it may take some effort from rivals to find out what it is up to.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB8

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB8

Photo by: Sutton Images

In the past, Red Bull has been known to go the extra mile in hiding its latest designs at testing too – with team members famously using umbrellas back in 2012 to hide car components whenever its machine was rolled back into the garage.

shares
comments

Related video

Ferrari overhauls chassis department ahead of 2021 F1 season
Previous article

Ferrari overhauls chassis department ahead of 2021 F1 season

Next article

Verstappen: Hard to judge Red Bull progress after F1 shakedown run

Verstappen: Hard to judge Red Bull progress after F1 shakedown run
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021