Leaked pictures: Have Red Bull copied Mercedes with 2023 car design?

Red Bull are aiming to defend their Constructors' Championship from last season, to claim back-to-back titles for the first time since 2011.

Red Bull are seemingly counting down the days until pre-season testing gets underway at the Bahrain International Circuit, with the Austrians having completed a private shakedown test of their newest car.

The RB19 was driven for the first time by both Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez at the Silverstone International Circuit on Friday, with the reigning World Champion in particular having been pleased that “everything worked really smooth”.

“I’ve just driven the RB19 for the first time,” Verstappen reported.

“Of course, it’s a filming day, but I think it was a good first impression, everything worked really well, everything worked really smooth, so that’s exactly what you want from a day like this.”

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Given that it was a private test, Red Bull didn’t release footage of the RB19 in action, with the car’s features still remaining a mystery.

However, some eagle-eyed F1 fans managed to get some footage of the car, which was instantly analysed by the F1 community.

Based on the footage and the screenshots, it appears that the car used during the shakedown test has been inspired by Mercedes, with several comparisons being visible between the RB19, and the Germans 2022 car.

Interestingly, whilst the RB19 used at Silverstone didn’t have full ‘zero sidepods’, its sidepods were noticeably flatter, suggesting that Mercedes were perhaps onto something incredible last season after all.

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The air intake also resembled Mercedes’ from last season, hinting that instead of teams deciding to copy Red Bull’s 2022 design, it’s actually Mercedes’ which many outfits have taken inspiration from.

Red Bull weren’t the only team completing their shakedown test at Silverstone, with Haas having completed theirs at the home of the British Grand Prix on Saturday.

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Alfa Romeo also completed their shakedown test but in Spain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Both Haas and Alfa Romeo posted lots of content from their shakedown tests, suggesting that its Red Bull who are opting to keep the true design of their RB19 a secret until pre-season testing.

The first of Red Bull’s likely title challengers, Ferrari, are set to reveal their 2023 car on Tuesday, with many being intrigued to see what the Italians have been up to over the winter.