Red Bull designer Adrian Newey has been speaking about his newest brainchild, the RB17, after he was unveiled by the Austrian company.
Newey’s designs in Formula 1 have been ass innovative as they come, with nine Constructors’ Championships under his belt, and Max Verstappen also has the Briton partly to thank for his drivers’ crown earned in 2021.
There was no RB17 car after the 2021 cars remained much the same as those the year previous due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the new hypercar, which is the first Red Bull have worked on since Newey’s input in Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, has taken that name.
It is unknown whether the hypercar will be entered into the WEC series to join their recently born category that replaced LMP1, but what is certain is that it will not be road legal.
The idea was to give customers as close to an F1 experience as they could get without actually driving a single seater.
“Formula 1 cars are extraordinary beasts,” Newey told Motorsport Magazine.
“[We wondered] ‘How about we started designing and developing the car using the same methodology and technology that we’ve been putting into those Formula 1 cars as a two-seater car that can be sold to customers… that you can drive to Formula 1 levels of performance?’
“This is effectively a no-rules car, with the constraint of carrying two people rather than a single person.”
This car is different to what Newey is used to designing, as the technical regulations in F1 limit him in terms of the ideas he can put onto the car.
This one is free reign though, and he was able to unleash the thousands of ideas he has inside his ludicrously intelligent mind into building a car with no constraints.
The 63-year-old detailed the level of effort and hours that went into designing this latest piece of pioneering technology.
“It’s stimulating — it’s something I probably put too many weekend hours into,” added Newey.
“Indeed, the first drawing of this car was actually in between Christmas of 2020 and New Year — Covid year, we couldn’t get out skiing so I used that time instead to start drawing this.”
The experience of working with cars in the pinnacle of motorsport informed a lot of the practices that went into designing the RB17, as well as additional parts he would have loved to put onto an F1 car, but was prohibited from doing by the regulations.
“It’s as you might imagine, kind of useful tricks that I’ve learned over the years — performance enhancing technologies that have subsequently been banned — so let’s say reintroduced together with the approach to research and design that characterises a Formula 1 team,” explained Newey.
It is not yet known who will provide the engine and gearbox for the car, but Newey believes there is now much more emphasis on the chassis due to the powerful technology available to engine manufacturers.
“The big battle really is weight,” he added.
“Once you make a car that’s big enough to take two people with a roof on it for the practicality and safety of those people, automatically the car becomes heavier than a Formula 1 car.
“And it’s then kind of do whatever you need to do to try and achieve that performance you need to get against that inherent extra weight.
“Power is almost the relatively easy bit nowadays, such is the advancement of engine technology.”
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are both expected to play a part in testing and developing the new car.