The pre-season car and team launches are now officially underway and the excitement is especially high this year, with the huge changes in the rules that are in effect from this year onwards.
Oracle Red Bull Racing became the first team to launch their car this year (Haas only launched their livery last week), as today they unveiled the RB18, its car for the 2022 Formula 1 season.
In a much-hyped launch event that put fans at the centre of hosting the event; several motorsport content creators hosted live streams of the event on their channels on their preferred platforms. This method of hosting the event has been unique amongst the other teams and, if it’s been proven that it can work well, could be utilized more in the future by Red Bull and possibly other teams as well.
The car will be driven by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for the 2022 season, with Verstappen having the all-important number 1 on his car. He will be the first person to use the number 1 in Formula One since Sebastian Vettel was the defending champion for the same Red Bull team in 2014. The car that was shown looks broadly similar to the generic 2022 car that was unveiled at last year’s British Grand Prix, although by the time pre-season testing starts could look very different.
The car’s livery has also been officially revealed via this launch event, which has remained broadly the same as previous Red Bull liveries except with Honda logos no longer present on the car and prime placement of the team’s new title sponsor Oracle Corporation, a multi-national cloud computer technology company based in Austin, Texas.
Oracle was the second-largest software company in the world by revenue and market capitalisation last year and it specialises in database software and cloud computing. Both of those things are definitely going to be very useful for a Formula One team like Red Bull, which relies on state of the art servers and cloud computing to store, process and transmit data from a racetrack anywhere in the world to the team’s headquarters in Milton Keynes and back again.
“With the new regulation changes this year, the whole philosophy has altered, which means every single component is different to last year’s car. It’s a clean sheet of paper for every single team,” Team Principal Christian Horner explained.
“By the time we get to the first race, the RB18 won’t look much like it looks today, the evolution will be very quick as we progress through the season. It is a steep learning curve for everyone and it is a contest in development between the first and the last race. We believe we have a good car for 2022, the RB18 is coming to life and seeing it today is fantastic. It has been a huge effort from the Team and I am looking forward to seeing it out on the track now.“
“We plan to build on 2021, we have number one on the car this year and now the challenge is it keep it and defend that title with Max,” Horner continued, stating Red Bull’s intentions to defend Verstappen’s drivers’ championship very clearly. “The excitement and hard work of 2021 really galvanised the Team and it means we go into 2022 in great shape for the season ahead.“
How difficult defending Verstappen’s championship will be for Red Bull (and Verstappen himself) is yet to be seen as we have no idea which teams will turn out with the best cars, but this is an era of new regulations where the grid will be almost entirely reset. Almost anything could happen and, in Formula 1, it usually does!