The champion introduces himself: Red Bull showed the RB19 for the first time this Friday at a high-end event held in New York. What did Verstappen think? “It’s the first time that I see it…”. Is not true. “I can’t go into details, but we always try to improve it,” he added. Next to him was Checo Pérez, “confident before a very long season”, and Daniel Ricciardo, star substitute and prodigal son. Also Christian Horner, head of the team to beat in the Formula 1 World Cup.
In sight, the new car is… last year’s RB18: sharp and narrowed drop pontoons. He was so reminiscent of the Abu Dhabi car that the photographs confirmed the evidence: the only thing new is the decoration, and the classic livery of the energy team does not change much either. Nor is it surprising: not even Red Bull needs to show its full potential on February 3, with the rivals watching; nor would it have been possible to actually build the car and ship it to Manhattan at this time of year. The official premiere date is from February 23 to 25 at the Sakhir tests, a week before the Bahrain GP (March 5). Although the classic previous ‘shakedown’ is not ruled out.
The strong point of the car, in any case, It is not carbon fiber, but flesh and blood: Verstappen defends his second consecutive title (2021 and 2022) after completing a dominant season last year with a record 15 wins. He took advantage of a patchy Ferrari and an MIA Mercedes, but the 25-year-old Dutchman made the difference on track to take a lead in the table of almost 150 points. His current contract (of about 50 million euros a year) links him with Red Bull until 2028 and he does not seem like the typical driver who wants to stay in F1 without an end date.
Adrian Newey is generally credited with the bizarre ideas in terms of aerodynamics, and for good reason: he was the main architect of the victorious era in Vettel’s time. It is also true that in recent years the weight of the British star engineer has been gradually diluted. He is focused on other kinds of projects, such as the RB17 supercar (which interrupted the sequence of names of F1 cars) and his contribution to the team is that of a highly listened to consultant. The technical director who signs this project of the RB19 is the French Pierre Waché.
The list of champions
Red Bull won 17 races in 2022 (two by Checo Pérez). They also won their fifth constructors’ title, the first since 2013 and also the one that interrupted a historic eight-year streak wiped out by Mercedes. His rivals in 2023 are not surprising, they will be Hamilton and Russell with the silver arrow that will be presented on 15-F, and also the Ferrari that Sainz and Leclerc will drive (will be revealed on 14-F). In the short term, in the Milton Keynes house they have tools and the pilot of the moment. And in the long run, it looks like they’ve made some new friends: the event served to publicize their deal with Ford from 2026.