RACE DEBRIEF

    The new VCARB 01, unveiled today by the RB team formerly known as AlphaTauri, has been launched in a form the team describes as 90% of what will appear in Bahrain for the pre-season tests.

    The floor edges and possibly the sidepods are set to look different from what was shown in the Las Vegas launch.

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    What we can see is that the front suspension is now pull-rod in its layout, replacing the previous car’s pushrod. The new suspension has been taken from Red Bull and the change in layout is in line with that made by the Kick Sauber team for its 2024 car.

    Previously AlphaTauri had fashioned its own front suspension but taken the Red Bull rear end. Now both front pull-rod and rear pushrod systems are provided by Red Bull.

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    The new pull-rod front suspension is apparent in this shot, with the central pull-rod arms descending from high on the wheel side to low down on the chassis side. As the wheel moves vertically, the arms act upon internal rockers mounted at the bottom of the chassis.

    There are also changes to the radiator inlet bodywork, with a more Red Bull-like extended lower lip. This is configured to better control the airflow which spills from the inlet once its capacity has been exceeded at speed.

    The lip helps prevent that spillage from being too disruptive to the downforce-generating airflow around the floor and travelling down the sidepod ramp.

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    The sidepods on the launch car otherwise look very much like those of the late-season AlphaTauri AT04, although the new livery partly disguises the similarity.

    In summary, we can expect a lot more of significance about the car to become apparent once it is seen on track than what was revealed at the launch.

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    The AT04 sidepods (top) look essentially the same as those on the launch VCARB 01. You can expect different sidepods when the car appears in testing.