Red Bull launch the RB9
Six 2013 cars now revealed following World Champions' launch
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 05/02/13 9:07am
The new charger made its first public appearance at a hi-tech, futuristic launch ceremony at Red Bull's Milton Keynes base on Sunday lunchtime, becoming the sixth of the eleven 2013 contenders to be revealed.
One visually striking change from the car's title-winning predecessors is the RB9's garish colour scheme, with swathes of purple splashed on to the bodywork as a promotion for the team's new title sponsor Infiniti.
The new charger also retains the unloved 'boxer's nose' look, with Red Bull's resident technical chief Adrian Newey confirming that while the RB9 did feature a partial 'modesty panel', the slope wasn't entirely covered due to concerns about its weight.
The overall result isn't particularly pretty, but in F1 beauty is only measured in speed and the team are optimistic that the RB9 will prove as eye-catching on the track as its victorious forerunners.
"This car marks a new beginning for us," declared team boss Christian Horner, although Newey was quick to insist "the devil is very much in the detail" and his latest creation is "an evolutionary car". No wonder: If it isn't broke, there's no need to fix it.
In attendance at the launch, Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz summarised: "There are fewer changes on the Red Bull than we have seen on the McLaren or the Ferrari, and there's one very simple reason for why that is: Red Bull won the championship, so McLaren and Ferrari have the bigger gains to make in order to reach Red Bull's level.
"It's going to be tight and the interesting thing for me is to see is whether the bigger changes that have come from McLaren and Ferrari are maybe greater than the gains that Red Bull have made given that they were pretty quick already."
Newey himself acknowledged that development work on the RB9 has been compromised by the team's deep engagement in 2012's down-to-the-wire title race, adding that he hadn't yet seen anything especially revolutionary on McLaren's recently-launched MP4-28 or Ferrari's F138.
"It was difficult trying to continue development of last year's car while also doing research into the RB9. Obviously it worked for us, but it gave us a very tight timeframe to design and manufacture this car," he said.
"We know what we believe we've done but we don't know what everybody else has done. There's still a lot of unknowns."
More will become clear at the Jerez test which commences on Tuesday morning, although it seems inconceivable that the car - likely to be substantially different to the model briefly unveiled during this Sunday's launch - which the World Champions will take to the season-opening Australian GP on March 17 will be anything other than a leading championship contender.
Not that Sunday's launch revealed a clear impression of the RB9, however. With photographers barred from the ceremony, the team released just a handful of studio images of the new car to accompany its launch and put the covers back on the RB9 almost as soon as Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber had removed them.
There really is nothing quite like F1.
The 2013 car launches
Lotus - January 28th, Enstone.
McLaren - January 31st, Woking.
Force India - February 1st, Silverstone.
Ferrari - February 1st, Maranello.
Sauber - February 2nd, Hinwil.
Red Bull - February 3rd, Milton Keynes.
Mercedes - February 4th, Jerez.
Toro Rosso - February 4th, Jerez.
Caterham - February 5th, Jerez.
Marussia - February 5th, Jerez.
Williams - February 19th, Barcelona.