Red Bull unveils 2018 Formula 1 car: the RB14

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Red Bull Racing took the covers off its car for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season earlier on Monday. Dubbed the RB14, the chassis kicks off a new era for Red Bull as Aston Martin joins the team as a title sponsor, giving them the official name of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, with Aston Martin branding featured prominently on the chassis, notably on the side of the cockpit and across the rear wing.

The announcement also featured a special blue and black livery on the car. However, the livery will reportedly be temporary, as the race livery will be revealed during testing at the Circuit de Catalunya when testing begins next week.

“Daniel Ricciardo is taking the all-new Aston Martin-Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer RB14 for a spin at Silverstone as we conduct a pre-season filming day,” the team revealed in an announcement on their website.

The announcement continued, “The RB14 is currently wearing a special edition livery. We’re keeping our race-ready paint job under wraps for the time being and will unveil it at the Circuit de Catalunya next week. The unfamiliar shapes under the paint, however, are here to stay.”

Recent years have seen the Red Bull squad launch their car relatively late, right before pre-season testing even, as a way of maximizing design and development ahead of the season. However, they used a different philosophy this year.

“The pattern of the last few years has been to launch ‘aggressively late’. This has allowed the design department the maximum amount of time to add goodness to the car before the cut-off point at which the design is frozen and a launch car produced. It’s been not uncommon to have the car finished, fired up for the first time and shipped to Spain for the start of testing all on the same day,” the team explained.

They continued, “It serves a purpose – but you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t have to, and this year we didn’t have to. It’s preferable to finish the car early and deal with any snags now, when the car is on a track a short drive from the factory, rather than using up one of our eight ultra-precious test days doing the same at the Circuit de Catalunya.”

Testing begins at the Catalunya circuit begins on February 26.

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Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.