Red Bull launch new RB14 with sights set on F1 2018 title challenge

The RB14 has been released in what the team have termed a ‘special edition livery’ with the race colours to be revealed when testing begins at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya next week.

The new car is being run for the first time at Silverstone on Monday as Daniel Ricciardo conducts the team’s permitted filming day.

The RB14 is the third car for the new season to be unveiled but the first which is expected to contend for wins and the world title.

Red Bull are armed with one of the most talented and exciting driver pairings on the grid, with both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo aiming for their first Drivers’ Championship this year.

The Formula 1 Gossip Column
F1 2018: Race calendar and testing dates

Red Bull’s early launch – exactly a week before pre-season testing begins at Barcelona – marks a departure for the team with the former world champions becoming the first outfit to formally unveil their 2018 car in a bid to shed their reputation for being ‘slow starters’.

Tipped as one of the main benefactors from the aerodynamic ‘rules refresh’ last season, Red Bull started the campaign poorly and were half a second off the pace set by Mercedes and Ferrari early on.

But an upwards development curve coupled with a strong end to the season – winning two of the final six races – has given the four-time world champions renewed hope for 2018.

Aston Martin have taken title sponsor rights at the team, the possible first step towards the British sportscar maker making a more wide-ranging F1 return as an engine builder in 2021 when the sport’s power unit rules are reset.

Red Bull: Four fast facts

  • Red Bull suffered as many race retirements as podium finishes in 2017 – 13
  • Ricciardo has outscored Verstappen in their 37 races as team-mates – 420 to 359 points – but Max leads qualifying 19-18
  • Verstappen has until the end of 2018 to become F1’s youngest polesitter & end of 2020 to be youngest world champion
  • Red Bull have won at least one race in eight of the last nine seasons stretching back to 2009

Will the RB14 convince Ricciardo to remain?
Red Bull’s stellar driver pair start 2018 in contrasting contractual positions at the team.

While the highly-rated Verstappen agreed to a long-term contract last season, Ricciardo is entering the final year of his contract and says he must be convinced by Red Bull’s title-winning potential before signing on.

“Next year will be a big thing big for that,” a cagey Ricciardo said of his future. “I have another year with the Red Bull contract so we will see where l end up.”

Red Bull themselves also have a critical decision to make in 2018 about their future in F1.

Their contract with current suppliers Renault – a manufacturer they have frequently criticised in recent years – expires at the end of the year and unless a rapprochement is achieved their only option may be to follow junior team in switching to Honda.

Red Bull enjoyed four consecutive constructors’ and drivers’ titles from 2010 to 2013 with Sebastian Vettel, but have yet to find anywhere near the same amount of success in the hybrid era – winning only eight races.

2018 car unveilings and launch dates Team Date Car/Location Haas February 14 VF-18 Williams February 15 FW41 Red Bull February 19 RB14 Renault February 20 Online Sauber February 20 Online Mercedes February 22 Silverstone Ferrari February 22 Online McLaren February 23 TBC Toro Rosso February 26 Barcelona Force India To be confirmed

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