Featuring a striking new test livery for this week’s opening Jerez session, the RB11 features a host of improvements in all areas as the team seeks to improve on their 2014 campaign, when they took the RB10 from a difficult start to second place in the standings.
The most notable shape change to this year’s car is the lower nose box and front of the chassis, which were amended in line with the latest regulations, but beyond that many of the RB11’s updates are under its all-new black and white skin.
“The design of the RB11 has been very much about understanding what we learned from last season, which was a big regulation change as far as the power unit is concerned and the packaging that goes with that and setting about optimising the car from those lessons,” said Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey.
Chief engineering officer Rob Marshall added: “There are some changes that affect the shape of the front of the car but beyond that most of the changes are under the skin. We’ve identified the areas where we can make improvements and we’ve worked hard on these. There won’t be a lot that’s visible to the naked eye but a lot of hard work has gone into the bits that are hidden.”
A large part of that work has involved improvements to Renault Sport’s Energy F1 power unit, updates that have been made in closer collaboration with the team.
“Red Bull is the only partner for Renault now, through ourselves and Toro Rosso, and that focus from Renault together with a close involvement with our design team is yielding good results and a far closer integration between the power unit and the chassis side,” said team principal Christian Horner. “Working in unison with Renault we can really make some big steps forward this year.”
Newey added that the process of reducing the deficit the team suffered last year will take time: “We have been working very hard with our partners Renault to help them develop the engine. What we have to remember is that the internal combustion engine and its very complicated associated items, the ERS and turbocharger, are long lead time items. Those are things where if one team takes an advantage then it takes time to overthrow that or get back on a par with or hopefully ahead.”
For drivers Ricciardo, a three-time winner with Red Bull last season, and Kvyat, who joins following a successful rookie season with sister team Toro Rosso, the brief two-month wait for a return to the cockpit is over and a first taste of the RB11’s potential awaits in Spain.
“I’m looking forward to driving the RB11 and I’m hanging out to get behind the wheel again. I hope it’s going to be a beast. We’ll soon find out,” said Ricciardo. “There was plenty of pressure on me last year to prove myself in a top team and I think everyone knows now what I’m capable of so I’m excited - excited to build on what we achieved in 2014 and ready to give Mercedes a good fight.”
“It’s going to be very exciting to drive an Infiniti Red Bull Racing car for the first time for me,” added Kvyat. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m really looking forward to finally getting into the car. It’s going to be cool.
“Though many people in the team know me quite well, there is still the challenge of entering a new team for myself. However, I haven’t really set any targets for 2015. I just want to keep doing the best job possible with hard work and the right attitude and that’s the best thing I can do.”
On Red Bull’s aims for 2015, Horner concluded: “Our target is simple: to close down the gap to Mercedes yet further. We were the only team other than Mercedes to win a Grand Prix in 2014 and we won three with Daniel Ricciardo.
"Our target is to close the gap down and put Mercedes under as much pressure as we possibly can. We know what we’re aiming at, we know what we need to achieve and I believe that with the RB11, with the drivers we have and with the new structures put in place we should be able to do that.”
Ricciardo will be first to put the RB11 through its paces in Spain on Sunday. The Australian is also due to drive on Tuesday, while Kvyat assumes driving duties on Monday and Wednesday.