Red Bull’s 2021 Formula 1 car has been revealed ahead of the team’s traditional Silverstone shakedown this week.
The RB16B, the follow-up to last year’s RB16, was unveiled in a livery similar to its predecessor’s, but with Honda branding on the rear wing instead of former title sponsor Aston Martin, which now has its own team in F1.
Red Bull ended the 2020 season inflicting Mercedes’ first defeat in Abu Dhabi during the V6 turbo-hybrid era, while Max Verstappen was the only challenger to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas during the campaign.
Though Verstappen ended up third in the championship and Red Bull was an easy second in the constructors’ championship, a slow start from Red Bull meant its lofty hopes of a title challenge were extinguished early on.
It is banking on the progress made through 2020, plus the large-scale mechanical component carry-over to 2021, allowing the team to finally take the fight to Mercedes over an entire season.
Red Bull was one of the teams to trial 2021-spec floors on-track at the end of 2020 and its hopes will rest on fixing the windtunnel and CFD correlation problems that have supposedly been behind prior slow starts, so the aerodynamic changes this year do not give Mercedes a fresh advantage.
The team’s engine partner Honda has thrown everything at its farewell F1 season, bringing forward an all-new design that had briefly been postponed to 2022.
Verstappen and new signing Sergio Perez are both scheduled to drive the RB16B – the last Red Bull to run a Honda-badged engine before the Japanese manufacturer leaves at the end of the season and Red Bull takes over the engine project – this week.
Perez will gain mileage beforehand in the 2019 RB15, to acclimatise to Red Bull’s procedures, steering wheel and Honda engine in a live environment.
He is understood to be driving at Silverstone today (February 23) before the RB16B shakedown takes place on Wednesday (February 24).
Perez has joined Red Bull in place of Alex Albon. The former Racing Point driver became a grand prix winner in a stellar 2020 and finished a career-best fourth in the championship.
He will be tasked with providing Verstappen the back-up that Albon and Pierre Gasly have failed to give Red Bull since Daniel Ricciardo left after the 2018 season.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) February 23, 2021