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Formula 1

Red Bull’s 2023 F1 car hits track, but secrecy continues

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Red Bull’s RB19 Formula 1 car has made its track debut at Silverstone, but the champion team’s secretive approach to the 2023 pre-season continued.

In a repeat of its 2022 tactics, Red Bull held its launch event using a show car that will bear little resemblance to what actually appears for testing, and has now held a shakedown run without – at least so far – offering any publicity images from it.

It only released a short video clip on its social media channels in which the car cannot be seen clearly.

Red Bull later put out a short video clip of world champion Max Verstappen giving his initial take on how the day had gone.

“I’ve just driven the RB19 for the first time,” he said. “Of course it’s a filming day but it was a good first impression.

“Everything worked very well, everything worked very smoothly, so that’s exactly what you want from a day like this.”

Outside official testing, F1 teams are limited to two runs of up to 100km – usually referred to as ‘filming days’ – with their current machinery during the season.

Alfa Romeo, the other team that is known to have already run its 2023 car, chose its angles relatively carefully but did openly provide imagery from its Barcelona shakedown on Friday.

Last year Red Bull used a very basic F1 show car for its launch while this year it appeared to be the 2022 car at the event billed as revealing the 2023 model.

Team principal Christian Horner admitted at last week’s launch that “what you’ve seen today isn’t a total reflection of what will hit the track in a few weeks’ time” and declared the event was “really about launching the team’s aspirations for the year ahead” rather than revealing the 2023 car – despite the substantial use of RB19 branding at the event and in accompanying Red Bull publicity.

Though Red Bull’s approach to hiding its actual car is the most extreme, it is far from the only F1 team keeping design elements under wraps until pre-season testing.

While Mercedes provides ample imagery from its launches and shakedowns, it usually keeps some parts of the design hidden with its angle choices and in 2022 only introduced the definitive version of its car – featuring the attention-grabbing minimal sidepods – at the final test having launched and conducted test one with a very different looking W13.

Other teams have openly admitted their launch cars or initial renders are 2022 machines in new liveries, including Haas and Williams – both of which will run their actual 2023 cars at Silverstone in the coming days.

But some are making a virtue of being less secretive than others.

Aston Martin’s deputy technical director Eric Blandin recently stated that there would be no decoys in his team’s launch this coming Monday.

“The car we reveal at our new factory in Silverstone on February 13 will be the real AMR23,” he said. “We’re not going to disappoint fans.”

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