Red Bull have taken inspiration from one of Sebastian Vettel’s old helmets to confuse Formula One rivals seeking a clear picture of their aerodynamic secrets in pre-season testing.
The former champions, now without Vettel after the German moved to Ferrari, have been testing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain with a car painted in black and white ‘camouflage’ livery.
Team principal Christian Horner said Vettel had worn a helmet with a similar dazzle design at last year’s Italian Grand Prix and the team thought it would be interesting to extend the concept to the whole car.
Horner, who had said last week that the team were rushing to get the Renault-powered car ready for Jerez, promised the livery would be “even stronger” for the first race in Australia on March 15.
“Everybody works away over the winter and once the new cars come out, then everybody is looking at what everyone else has been up to,” Red Bull designer Adrian Newey told Sky Sports television.
“If we can help to disguise that a little bit and conceal some of the shapes we’ve developed over the winter, then that prevents them getting as good a knowledge of our shapes as they might do otherwise.
“How much difference it makes, we’ll see. But it’s something different.”
Newey repeated his view that champions Mercedes, who won all but three races last year, would be hard to beat this season and said the regulations favoured the engines over aerodynamics.
“I think Mercedes should win it, frankly. They have a power advantage and certainly in this relatively engine-dominated formula, then that puts them hugely ahead,” he said.
“Can we make enough of a difference on the chassis to mount a challenge? I think it will be extremely difficult but we will obviously do our best. A bit more freedom on the chassis regulations would make that more viable.”
Red Bull won three races last year and finished as overall runners-up. (Ferrari)