JANUARY 18, 2008
The new RB4
The new Red Bull-Renault RB4 has been doing its first laps down in Jerez and the team hopes that the new car - a development of the RB3 - will bring the team better results in part thanks to better reliability and in part as a result of development work. Much effort has gone into the aerodynamic development of the car but there has also been considerable work on the gearbox, which was a real problem in 2007. The car is Adrian Newey's second Red Bull chassis and the initial tests ended up with an engine problem at the end of the first day after completing 54 laps . The team has no illusions about the task ahead but hopes to move forward in the course of the season and perhaps, if all goes well, it can begin to think about wins in 2009.
"Over the last few weeks, all the departments have made Herculean efforts to get the car ready for this shakedown," said team principal Christian Horner. "Last year was a year of evolution, with the first Adrian Newey designed car. This year is the first in the team™s history that we have continuity in all key elements: staff, drivers and engine partner. We go into this season on the back of a year in which our performance improved and there is a real sense that we are operating efficiently as a team, having come a long way since Red Bull™s initial investment back in 2005.
"Prospects for 2008 are encouraging and we are looking to make a step forward from where we finished last year. It is an extremely competitive field.
"There has been a strategic investment in the facilities at Milton Keynes, doubling the capacity of our manufacturing facility, which I believe puts us on a par with any team in Formula 1. The infrastructure of the team has grown and we now have the right tools and equipment in place. And with the key recruitment of Geoff Willis as Technical Director last summer, we are now working as a cohesive group."
The big problem last year was reliability which, Adrian Newey says, was caused by "detailed design, manufacturing and operations faults and the reliability systems couldn't cope. We haven't had to make any compromises in that respect, it is just a matter of understanding why things were failing and what was breaking down in the system to cause them."