Red Bull staked an early claim for the best livery of 2018 as they launched their new F1 car in a 'special edition' blue and black colour scheme. The RB14, which is powered by a Tag Heuer-branded Renault engine and will be raced by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in the upcoming campaign, is the car the Milton Keynes team hope will return them to championship contention.
They have not mounted a serious title bid since 2013 - the last of their four-season spell of dominance - but have vied with Ferrari to carry the fight to Mercedes for the last four years, winning eight races over that time period.F1 Red Bull Racing RB14 with Halo. (Image: Red Bull)
Having suffered from slow starts in the past few seasons, the team have opted to change up their normal protocol and shakedown their new machine at Silverstone a full week before pre-season testing begins - a move that Red Bull hope will allow them to hit the ground running in 2018.
Daniel Ricciardo will be behind the wheel for the filming day, which will see the team limited to 100km of running on specific tyres developed by Pirelli for such purposes.
"The pattern of the last few years has been to launch 'aggressively late'," said Red Bull on their official website. "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.
"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."
The car's special edition livery is not expected to last long, with Red Bull saying their 'race-ready' livery will be unveiled in Barcelona next week.
It's not the first time the team have launched with a distinctively different look - back in 2015 the RB11 was launched with the black and white 'camobull' paint job.