If you had told us 20 years ago that a beverage brand would be dominating Formula One, we’d wonder what negative side effects said energy drink might be having on your grasp of reality. But after title-sponsoring the Sauber team as early as 1995, Red Bull surprised everyone by buying not one, but two F1 teams: Jaguar Racing (nÃ©e Stewart Grand Prix) and Minardi. But five and six years, respectively, since the Austrian company took over the two struggling teams, Red Bull can now lay claim to both titles in the Formula One World Championship.
The premier Red Bull Racing team will have a real job on its hands to fend off the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren (to say nothing of the other dozen challengers, including its own B-squad) in defending its titles this season, and this is the car with which they hope to do it.
Designed by Adrian Newey, the RB7 is, as you might have guessed, the seventh Red Bull grand prix car. It carries the same Renault engine as last year (also used by both Lotus teams), with its own proprietary gearbox mated to the KERS regenerative braking system. And of course, as defending champions, the car has the honor of wearing numbers 1 and 2 for returning pilots Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, respectively. Last season, the duo claimed pole 15 out of 19 races and went on to win nine grands prix to take the championship.
Along with it, Red Bull’s sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso also unveiled its new STR6 at Valencia â€“ where Vettel incidentally took the top slot on the time sheets for the first practice session of the season. The second car developed in-house at STR headquarters in Faenza will be driven once again by Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari under Ferrari power, and bears the same high nose design employed by most of the new designs this season. With the new car, Toro Rosso hopes to improve on the 9th place constructors’ finish from last season that placed them just ahead of the newcomers as the worst-performing returning team on the grid. In the process, STR will undoubtedly be aiming to catch up with the sixth place they seized in 2008 after Vettel captured the team’s only victory â€“ and only podium, for that matter.