Red Bull RB3: A Much Needed Lift
By: Jeremy McMullen
By: Jeremy McMullen
| After coming out of the gates strong in its first season, Red Bull lost its buzz and crashed in 2006, despite a podium finish at Monaco. Being out-paced and embarrassed at times by its B-team counterparts, Toro Rosso, 2006 brought out the worst in the Red Bull team, and the RB2 took the brunt of much of the rage. While at times the RB2 showed promise, all-in-all, it appeared to be more like a drowsy patient than a wired thoroughbred. But that was all before Adrian Newey showed up. And like a new Red Bull drink with even more caffeine, the RB3 has hopes and energies running high.
The RB2 chassis achieved a third-place finish at the Monaco Grand Prix, the highest finish for the Red Bull team in its short history since switching from Jaguar and Stewart. The RB2 boasted of some innovative features as well. Some of these features were only seen on one or two other teams. Some of the design features included the V-keel design, the seamless gearbox, and improved suspension. And yet, for all intents and purposes, the RB2 was a bust. But what can be expected when development on the car stopped after France? At that moment, all focus was directed toward the development of the new RB3 design of Adrian Newey (who had come over from McLaren). The new RB3 represents an all new, refreshed, attitude at Red Bull after such a disappointing 2006 season. And yet, not only does the RB3 represent an all new attitude the car itself is an all-new design, a total departure from last year's RB2. So after long last, here it comes… the apparent savior—the RB3.
After a truly disappointing season it would have been easy to figure that Red Bull's attitude would be 'all work' this year, and its ultra low-key launch would easily support that assumption. On a cool Friday morning at the track in Barcelona, void of fireworks or even a tent, the much anticipated RB3 chassis was rolled out before the assembled media for its first official presentation. Newey had already tipped people off about the car's design by saying it would be similar in appearance to the McLaren cars and he wasn't lying. Newey used the RB3 to continue design ideas he was still working on when he left McLaren, and therefore, many of those designs do bear an interesting similarity to the designs in existence on the McLarens, both past and present.
Right away, the new RB3 diverts away from last year's design and bears more similarities with a McLaren. The nose is lower and narrower than last year's car. The front wing retains its tri-deck design. This feature was rather unique to Red Bull given the fact that only one or two other teams ran with such a wing set-up. This year's design abandons the Renault style V-keel in favor of a zero-keel arrangement. The suspension members have been reworked and refined on the RB3 to improve airflow efficiency to the rest of the car.
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