After an intense winter of design and development the RB15 hit the track for the first time today, with Max putting the Team’s first Honda-powered car through its paces for the cameras on a bright but cool filming day at Silverstone.
As has become tradition for the Team, the all-new RB15 made its first appearance clad in a stunning one-off launch livery, a stealthy-looking dark blue colour scheme lit with glowing red chevrons.
And over the course of six runs at the Northamptonshire circuit, the new charger performed faultlessly, with Max getting through 38 laps as the Team performed a battery of systems checks ahead of next week’s first test in Barcelona.
After reluctantly climbing out of the car, Max’s first impressions of the RB15 were positive.
“I was really excited to jump in the car and as soon as we got going it felt pretty normal. It felt good and we had no problems, so very happy with that,” he said. “Also, the livery is very beautiful, even though it’s only for today.
“Of course today is a filming day, so there’s a limited amount you can get out of it, but it’s really important to have a day like this, before you go to the official tests,” he added. “You get a first impression and you see if there any little issues with the car or engine. Luckily we didn’t have any and it’s very positive that we had this opportunity. Now we can go testing properly, we’ll see what we can get out of that and we’ll be able to understand the car and the engine a bit better. But so far, so good.”
Team Principal Christian Horner also highlighted the value of being able to give the car a thorough shakedown before the first test.
“It’s always great to see a new car take its first run,” he said. “RB15 is our first car with a Honda power unit and it looks resplendent in its one-off livery here at Silverstone. Of course today is all about filming, but it’s also a really valuable opportunity to check that all the systems work and that the car is fundamentally in good shape before we head to Barcelona next week where hopefully it will be a bit warmer! Now we’ve got eight days’ of testing ahead and it’s important that we maximise track time and get as much out of that process as possible prior to the first race of the new season in Melbourne.”
Max’s progress was eagerly followed trackside by new team-mate Pierre Gasly, who’ll get his first taste of the RB15 at next week’s Barcelona test.
“I think the car looks amazing,” he said. “Red Bull always brings some amazing one-off liveries to the launch of a new car and this is definitely one of the best.
“It’s the start of a new story for the Team with Honda and so far it’s gone really well. Now I can’t wait to be in Max’s position next week and to properly feel what the car is like,” Pierre continued. “For me, the winter break has felt pretty long – waiting to really get down to work with the Team has been something I’ve been dreaming about – and so I’m really looking forward to getting behind the wheel in Barcelona.”
The Team now moves on to that first test and the RB15 will next break cover at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya next Monday, 18 February.