Max Verstappen’s (Red Bull) RB18 has already impressed in pre-season testing

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She didn’t need that to attract attention. On February 9, Red Bull presented the RB18, which was only RB18 in name… and color. The Milton Keynes team had opted, like others, for the “showcar” strategy, an “unmarked” single-seater, in order to unveil its new costume without giving any clue as to what could be hiding underneath. Last week, the real RB18 had made its first laps on the Silverstone circuit, but the energy drink brand had only leaked dark images that did not reveal its first secrets.
The team of reigning world champion Max Verstappen therefore waited for the last moment to lift the veil on its new mount, this Wednesday, during the first day of “unofficial” testing at Montmelo. And the least we can say is that the operation had its small effect.

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A radical silhouette

Upon leaving the box, the RB18 caught the eye of everyone who saw it. And took a good look at it. The reason ? Its silhouette, in profile, which presents a very aggressive cut at the level of the pontoons. The concept contrasts radically with that of the other teams which, however, have all had different approaches concerning the exploitation of this zone.

The sidepods of the Red Bull RB18

Credit: Getty Images

Something to worry about, and spread the idea that Red Bull has already approached the limits of the new regulations under the impetus of its technical director Adrian Newey, one of the greatest aerodynamic geniuses in the history of Formula 1.

For the time being, the tests carried out on the track have obviously given no indication of a possible advantage conferred by this approach or by other different concepts (suspensions in particular): Verstappen has only established the ninth fastest time, with “hard” tires, conceding 2.8 at the reference time established by Lando Norris, who himself had fitted “soft”.

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Confident Hamilton

These days are still those of interrogations, bluffs… and little spy glances. Also intrigued by the single-seater which could still be his rival, Lewis Hamilton allowed himself a short stop in front of the Red Bull box as he strolled down the pit lane in fashionable attire. He did not, however, express the slightest apprehension about it.

Why should I?he dropped to our colleagues from the BBC, when asked about a possible misreading of the regulations by Mercedes. “We won eight titles [constructeurs, NDLR] consecutive. Of course, the risk exists. But we don’t make mistakes. We have extremely competent people at the factory and I trust them 100%“The game has already started.

Lewis Hamilton incognito in front of the Red Bull box during pre-season testing in Montmelo, February 23, 2022

Credit: Getty Images

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