What you're looking at here is not a Formula One race car. Sure, it looks like a race car, but what it is, in fact, is a wild card.
Following a tumultuous 2009 Championship that saw everything overturned, the 2010 F1 season is gearing up to be an absolute battle royale. If it weren't enough adding four new teams to the grid (with another waiting in the wings) and the departure of two major manufacturers from the series, three top World Championship teams are entering the upcoming season with multiple World Champions behind the wheel. Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari may find the front of the pack all to themselves, relegating the rest of the grid to fight for table scraps and the odd point here or there. Or, if last season proves any indication, Red Bull Racing – our wild card pick for 2010 – could stand to upset the champions with a fight of their own.
As surprising as it was last season to see Brawn GP scoring victory after champagne-soaked victory, that team had the benefit of a strategic mastermind, the resources of a world-class automaker and two highly experienced drivers to its benefit. Red Bull, we'll argue, was the bigger surprise. The team started in 1997 as Stewart Grand Prix before changing to Jaguar Racing three seasons later, finally to be bought by Red Bull in 2005. But since Stewart's only race win in '99, the team in its various incarnations never managed to break out of the middle of the pack. Until last season, when Sebastian Vettel – still a relative rookie and the youngest race winner in F1 history – started racking up the wins. Four of them, in all, while his experienced wingman Mark Webber scored a couple more for the team... and the first in his long career.
Last season, however, was last season. What was chaos then is turning back into order now, and to take on the World Champions in the hope of joining their ranks, Red Bull Racing will need one heck of a good car. In accordance with the latest formula, the RB6 accommodates a larger fuel tank and double diffuser design. Otherwise, aside from some small aero tweaks – expected to be further adjustments before and once the season starts – the design is mostly a carry-over from last year's victorious RB5, right down to its Renault engine. Will that be enough to run at the front of the pack? We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime you can check out the mega gallery of high-resolution images by clicking the thumbnails below.