Red Bull is the latest team to reveal its 2018 race car, seen here in the team’s usual pre-season development livery. Called the RB14, Red Bull is hoping to be back in title contention after a suite of detail changes to the chassis and with an improved Renault-sourced power unit.
2017 was a year of great change in the Formula 1 world championship. Headlined by faster and more aerodynamically aggressive cars compared to previous years, the eyes of the world were peeled to see if a new F1, no longer under the rule of Bernie, could begin to answer the call of fans and critics. In 2018 the changes have been less substantial, but still aim to bring further excitement to the sport with a continued effort to improve in-race overtaking and a renewed focus on louder, more dramatic engines.
With such a large technical regulation change in the preceding year, you’d be forgiven for thinking that not much will have changed, but instead the governing body of F1, the FIA, deemed it necessary to take the first steps towards introducing a closed cockpit.
The result is the much-contrived ‘halo’, a three-pronged section that sits over the driver’s head, further protecting him or her from race debris or other moving objects that could harm the driver. Although it is ridiculous to object to a new feature whose raison d’être is based purely on improving safety, it’s the execution of the halo that has been a major point of controversy leading up to the 2018 season.
Each of the teams will of course be subject to these new rule changes, but elsewhere, the major point of difference this year is the shake-up of where each team will source their power units. After three disastrous years running the under-performing, unreliable Honda unit, McLaren has switched to a vastly improved Renault engine that will also feature in Renault’s factory team and Red Bull.
To stay in the game, Honda’s powerplant will now nestle under the engine covers of the Toro Rosso cars, playing a development role for Red Bull’s eventual adoption of the Japanese engine in 2019. Ferrari and Mercedes will keep hold of their respective engines, while Renault is hoping its 2018-spec engine will have closed the gap on its rivals.
Red Bull reveals its 2018 F1 entry ? plus our 2018 F1 season preview | Evo