A team that is longing to be champion, but has not yet had the right car for that. That’s the story of Red Bull, which goes on for another year trying to cut the Mercedes advantage. This is the main objective of the RB16B, a car launched on Tuesday (22) on the eve of the 2021 season of Formula 1.
And continuity was the watchword. As promised by the team, including in the name, the new car looks like the 2020 car. In a first analysis, the biggest differences are simply in details on the floor and in the presence of Honda written where there was Aston Martin, who now has his own team in the grid.
Without an actual launch event, the team opted for an extremely timid presentation, releasing a video of the new bolide and few photos, in which it is possible to notice that even the painting was preserved practically intact. The expectation is that more information and photos will appear before the car’s shakedown, scheduled for Wednesday (24), at Silverstone.
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As the car’s lines indicate, this is just a continuation of the development made in 2020. As the regulation has hardly changed from one year to the next, and with major changes planned for 2022, Red Bull is betting on evolution. It is no accident that the nomenclature won a ‘B’ at the end of RB16, indicating that it is the same car design.
If the car is essentially the same, the changes are up to the driver. Not Max Verstappen, who has a contract until 2024, but Sergio Pérez: the Mexican was free in the market and at real risk of finishing without a place on the grid, but signed to replace Alexander Albon, who never joined Milton Keynes. It is a new dynamic for the four-time champion, who no longer has Verstappen as a unique reference. Despite being talented, the Dutchman has less experience than Pérez, who is packed for the great end of the year at Racing Point in 2020, including victory at the Sakhir GP.
While the technical novelties of the RB16B are not yet clear, one thing is certain: the engine will be the center of attention. Honda says goodbye to F1 at the end of 2021, a season that represents the last chance to fly higher with Red Bull. In addition to the hope of winning more often, it is necessary to give a final gas in the development of the power unit. Then, between 2022 and 2025, the freezing of the units comes into force. Milton Keynes’ team has already determined that take over the Japanese engine design, just preparing the components for the next seasons.
The F1 season is already a month away. The first race is the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28. Before that, between 12 and 14 March, the teams will carry out the pre-season already in Sakhir.