If you had told us 20 years ago that a beverage brand would be dominating Formula One, we'd wonder what negative side effects said energy drink might be having on your grasp of reality. But after title-sponsoring the Sauber team as early as 1995, Red Bull surprised everyone by buying not one, but two F1 teams: Jaguar Racing (née Stewart Grand Prix) and Minardi. But five and six years, respectively, since the Austrian company took over the two struggling teams, Red Bull can now lay claim to both titles in the Formula One World Championship.
The premier Red Bull Racing team will have a real job on its hands to fend off the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren (to say nothing of the other dozen challengers, including its own B-squad) in defending its titles this season, and this is the car with which they hope to do it.
Designed by Adrian Newey, the RB7 is, as you might have guessed, the seventh Red Bull grand prix car. It carries the same Renault engine as last year (also used by both Lotus teams), with its own proprietary gearbox mated to the KERS regenerative braking system. And of course, as defending champions, the car has the honor of wearing numbers 1 and 2 for returning pilots Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, respectively. Last season, the duo claimed pole 15 out of 19 races and went on to win nine grands prix to take the championship.
Along with it, Red Bull's sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso also unveiled its new STR6 at Valencia – where Vettel incidentally took the top slot on the time sheets for the first practice session of the season. The second car developed in-house at STR headquarters in Faenza will be driven once again by Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari under Ferrari power, and bears the same high nose design employed by most of the new designs this season. With the new car, Toro Rosso hopes to improve on the 9th place constructors' finish from last season that placed them just ahead of the newcomers as the worst-performing returning team on the grid. In the process, STR will undoubtedly be aiming to catch up with the sixth place they seized in 2008 after Vettel captured the team's only victory – and only podium, for that matter.
Scope out the two new taurine-fueled racers in the pair of high-resolution image galleries below and the press releases after the jump, and watch this space for more as rival teams incrementally unveil their new challengers as well.
[Sources: Red Bull Racing, Scudreria Toro Rosso]
RB7; 6 WEEKS TO GO; 2 TITLES TO DEFEND
Red Bull Racing launched its 2011 challenger – the RB7 – today at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit near Valencia, Spain. The car, which the team hopes will successfully defend its two Formula One titles, was unveiled in the pit lane at 0830hrs by 2010 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and his team-mate Mark Webber. This was followed by a press conference in the Team's Energy Station with the two drivers, team principal Christian Horner and chief technical officer Adrian Newey. The RB7 completed its first lap of the circuit when testing began at 1000hrs.
It's just 11 weeks since Sebastian Vettel drove to victory in Abu Dhabi and less than six weeks before the car will contest the Bahrain Grand Prix. This morning was the culmination of months of hard work in Milton Keynes, where every department has been focused on increasing the silverware in the Red Bull Racing trophy cabinets.
Christian Horner commented: " It's a great feeling to arrive here and roll out the car with the number one on it as the reigning World Champions, but now the challenge is to keep it. The team's been very focused on RB7 over the last few months; Adrian didn't release his drawings any earlier than normal, so the whole design group and production team have done a remarkable job to produce this car in the shortest possible time. It's a long season, the longest in F1 history, and we have some great opponents, but we are very motivated and will be working hard to hold on to the two world titles. I'm sure it's going to be a fascinating battle."
Adrian Newey said: "It's always a special moment when a car runs for the first time. The big challenge for us this year was the reintroduction of the KERS system. It's always a challenge to find solutions, which don't compromise the aerodynamics of the car. This season, with McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes all having KERS, we need to get it to work, simply for performance off the line." On the day it launched its all-new RB7, Red Bull Racing is pleased to welcome several new partners for 2011, as well as reconfirming continuing and enhanced agreements with many of its existing partners. Red Bull Racing's Partner portfolio now includes: Total, Rauch, Pepe Jeans, Casio, Singha Beer, FXDD, Geox, Pirelli, Alpinestars, Platform Computing and Siemens.
Scuderia Toro Rosso launches in Valencia
Shortly after 9 o'clock this morning, in the pit lane at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi pulled the wraps off the STR 6, the car with which Scuderia Toro Rosso will tackle the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship.
While the livery featuring the famous red bull remains pretty much the same, underneath the paintwork, the STR6 is radically different to its predecessor.
This year's design is possibly less conservative than in 2010 and naturally takes into account the requirements set out in the technical regulation changes, such as the banning of double diffusers, blown rear wings and adjustable front wings, to be replaced with the arrival of adjustable rear wings and the return, after a one year break, of KERS.