Red Bull launch new car ahead of F1 season

Red Bull reveals its 2018 Formula 1 car, the RB14, in temporary livery.

PARIS — Red Bull unveiled their new car for the 2018 Formula One season on Monday, well before the start of pre-season testing, as the team looks to challenge for a first championship in five years.

The main changes to this year's model, the RB14, are the introduction of the protective halo and new exclusion zones that effectively remove wings at the rear.

"Installing the Halo has been a challenge — mostly in terms of building a chassis strong enough to accommodate it and pass a brutal homologation test — but the rest of the regs have been comparatively stable," Red Bull said in a statement.

"That's the primary reason we're able to launch earlier than usual."

The car was presented with a temporary black and blue paint scheme, with the team's official racing livery set to be revealed at next week's testing sessions in Barcelona.

The Renault-powered cars will again be driven by Dutchman Max Verstappen and Australia's Daniel Ricciardo, who took the new model for a spin at Silverstone on Monday.

The Milton Keynes-based Austrian manufacturer had in previous years delayed their car launch until just before the start of testing to maximize the time for development.

"It serves a purpose — but you wouldn't do it if you didn't have to, and this year we didn't have to," explained Red Bull, who finished third in last year's constructors' championship.

"It's preferable to finish the car early and deal with any snags now, when the car is on a track a short drive from the factory, rather than using up one of our eight ultra-precious test days doing the same at the Circuit de Catalunya."

The first of two four-day pre-season testing sessions starts in Barcelona next Monday. — AFP