‘Because of the rule changes’: Red Bull exploiting new area for performance gain

Max Verstappen set the pace in his RB-19 during the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

With pre-season testing having officially started at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain, reigning champions Red Bull have finally taken the curtain off their actual 2023 car, after keeping it hidden during launch season.

Unlike their immediate rivals at Ferrari and Mercedes, the Austrians decided not to use their actual car at their launch event, with the Milton Keynes-based side having used a model of their 2022 challenger.

Like McLaren, Red Bull also blurred the vast majority of their footage from their shakedown test, in a bid to keep the car a secret.

With that in mind, all eyes were on Red Bull as the green light signalled the start of pre-season testing and the 2023 season, given that so little was known about their new car – the RB19.

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Their sidepod design for 2023 was instantly noticed, with the Austrians having opted for an undercut tunnel, whilst it was also identified that they’d kept a lot of the philosophies from 2022.

The Race’s technical consultant Gary Anderson revealed that the RB19 had the “same suspension philosophy as 2022, a pullrod front with lots of stagger on the inboard pick-ups of the top wishbone, and a pushrod rear.”

Anderson went on to explain that: “It’s the first car where we can see the detail along the floor edge, and there is lots of this. It’s a very important area because of the rule changes raising this section of the floor.”

The hope amongst the side will be that the car is good enough to start the season at the top, given that they need to make the most of the start of the season, before they feel the impact of their budget cap penalty.

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The expectation is that Red Bull’s penalty for breaching the 2021 budget cap by $2.2 million will hurt them most come the latter stages of the season, putting further emphasis on starting the year well.

Max Verstappen, of course, is targeting his third consecutive Drivers’ Championship, to put him level with the likes of Niki Lauda and Ayrton Senna.

Red Bull are also pushing for back-to-back Constructors’ Championships, in a bid to further cement their place as the team to beat in the new aerodynamic era of Formula 1.