Anytime you win the last three Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships in Formula One , there’s always that level of pressure (in this case, through the roof) to be better than ever before.
That pressure lies on the shoulders of Red Bull Racing , which is looking to win its fourth double championship in as many years. With three-time champ Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the helm, you can expect these guys to remain in the thick of the championship race and they’ve got the RB9 to help them make it four-in-a-row.
At a special gala event held at the team’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, England, the RB9 officially made its highly anticipated debut. Parts of the overall design of the RB9 were taken from its predecessor, the RB8 , including that stepped-nose design that ruffled a whole lot of feathers on the grid last year.
Since regulations for this season are pretty much similar, there weren’t a whole lot of radical modifications to the RB9. In addition to the similar body, the same Renault -sourced naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter V-8 engine complete with a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) is still in there too.
If there was any change to the new Formula One car, it’s the livery that now prominently features Infiniti on the side of the racecar instead of the usual Red Bull logo. Now that the former has become the title partner of the team - they’re officially known as Infiniti Red Bull Racing - then it only seems appropriate to have the automaker’s logo displayed where the cameras usually focus.
Other than that, the biggest focus for the team lies in continuing development of their Energy Recovery Systems.
On the outside, the RB9 is not very different from the RB8 that it replaces. The body is, of course, nearly identical to the RB8, but the livery is slightly revised. The biggest change in the livery is the prominent placement of the Infiniti logo on the side of the car – just below the driver’s head – and the placement of the iconic Red Bull raging bull on the air scoop.
Additionally, the color scheme changes very slightly, as a purple hue becomes the backdrop to the aforementioned Infiniti logo. Also, a purple stripe is now displayed above the red and white stripes that run the length of the RB9 – the RB8 had only the red and white stripes.
On the inside, well, it’s a racecar. There’s a seat, a racing harness, a few pedal and a steering wheel with enough lights, buttons and switches to confuse a commercial-jet pilot. Other than that, there is nothing else to talk about on the inside.
Sadly, this is the final year for the 2.4-liter V-8 engines in F1 racing and the RB9, of course, features said cast-aluminum, 2.8-liter, 32-valve powerplant. Red Bull expectedly did not release any information on the Renault RS27-2013 engine’s output, but we would assume it to be somewhere in the 400-horsepower range. This is no normal V-8 engine either, as its peak speed is a whopping 18,000 rpm.
This engine links up to a seven-speed gearbox with a hydraulic system to couple and decouple the AP Racing Clutch from the engine.
This combination of well-tuned powerplant and perfectly matched transmission likely translates out to a 2-second 0-to-60 mph time and a top speed well in excess of 200 mph.
|Engine||Renault RS27-2013 2.8-liter V-8 32-valve|
|Power Output||400 Horsepower (Est.)|
|Acceleration (0-60)||2 seconds (Est.)|
|Top Speed||215 mph (Est.)|
Suspension and Braking
All around, the RB9 features a carbon-composite double-wishbone suspension system with anti-roll bars, aluminum-alloy uprights. To help keep the RB9 glued to the tarmac, Red Bull and Infiniti installed a set of 13-inch OZ Racing rims wrapped in Pirelli racing tires measuring 12 inches wide up front and 13.7 inches wide at the rear.
Helping drag this racecar to a halt is a set of Brembo calipers that squeeze carbon brake pads against carbon brake pads.
2013 Ferrari F138
We have already learned all about several other F1 vehicles that are all new for the 2013 racing season. Ferrari – Red Bull’s closest competitor – recently revealed its F138 and it has its sites squarely placed on Red Bull’s championship title. There’s not much to compare between the two mechanically, as they both feature a 2.4-liter V-8 engine and similar underpinnings.
With F1 running a tight ship, so there is at least a little parody – we put emphasis on “little” – it is easy to see how we can’t get too awful excited about this “new” RB9. It’s essentially the RB8 wearing a different suit. The big deal will come next year, which is when F1 moves to turbocharged V-6 engines. We’ll see if Renault can put out an engine good enough to keep the Infiniti-Red Bull team at the top of the points list.
- Infiniti finally has a prominent position on the body
- Lots of carbon components
- 18,000 peak rpm
- Heavily restricted F1 engine