After a sublime resurgence in 2016, Red Bull have been widely tipped as Mercedes’ biggest threat heading into the new era of the sport. Considering that F1 is once again becoming an aero formula, the theory is rather water-tight.

As such, anticipation for the launch of the RB13 has been steadily building all week. Red Bull and Toro Rosso being the final teams to unveil their 2017 challengers has ensured that launch week would end with a crescendo and springboard F1 into it’s first winter test.

The RB13’s online launch was incredibly atmospheric. A video that was chilling and thrilling in equal measure. It’s proved a hit with fans but if you look beyond the lights and special effects, it prompts far more questions than answers.

rb13

Above is the photo of the RB13. Specifically, THE photo, as the team are yet to release any studio photos of their 2017 car. Even this picture is nothing more than a screen grab lifted from the video.

This, from the most PR-savvy team in the field. Red Bull know how to maximize coverage during a car launch season, yet in their instance, they seem determined to detract attention from their car. Heck, Toro Rosso’s new livery has served to steal any remaining thunder that the sister team carried into Sunday evening.

In addition, the car featured in the screenshot seems decidedly basic. A new nose design is the only headline feature, with none of the triple element bargeboards, T-Wings or novelty winglets that have served to steal headlines for rival teams. There is very little content to get rival engineers interested.

Maybe the RB13 generates so much mechanical grip and has such an efficient floor that downforce from oddly positioned winglets is unnecessary, but I doubt it.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Red Bull have been intent on hiding their secrets from the opposition. After all, this was the team who arrived in Jerez for pre-season testing in 2015 with a “camo-Bull” livery. It’s pretty obvious that we are not looking at the car that will take to the track during testing here.

To illustrate this point, take a look at the livery on the shark fin. The Toro Rosso STR13, revealed in the Circuit de Catalunya pitlane this afternoon, features a bull with a tail extending onto the aforementioned shark fin. The “RB13” seems to have had its predecessors livery copy and pasted, with the only addition being new sponsors, which the team would be commercially obligated to add from launch.

str12   rb13

There is little doubt that Red Bull have something up their sleeve. Unwilling to reveal their hand to Mercedes, Ferrari and the rest too soon. We may see many gadgets and gizmos held back until the second test, or even Melbourne if the team are confident in their simulations. This will apply to nearly everyone up and down the grid to an extent, but Red Bull could be aiming to push the envelope on this.

We may see many gadgets and gizmos held back until the second test, or even Melbourne if the team are confident in their simulations. This will apply to nearly everyone up and down the grid to an extent, but Red Bull could be aiming to push the envelope on this.

The RB13 launch has been intriguing. Red Bull have been cryptic in their approach and if the bull’s tail is anything to go by, they are not willing to show off their winter’s work just yet.

The latest chapter in what has been a truly fascinating launch week. With little doubt, the most enthralling ever.

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