The Red Bull Racing Live Demo team push the boundaries. They take F1 to places F1 does not otherwise go. They take our show cars to cities and perform in front of crowds numbered in the hundreds of thousands – but they also go to the extremes: the highest and the lowest; the coldest and the hottest; the most desolate; the most exotic; the most fascinating.
Following on from recent runs in Oman and on the shore of the Dead Sea, the team have gone the extra mile with a whistle-stop tour of Jordan. It's quite possibly their most impressive feat ever. It's certainly one of the most visually stunning.
While the race team were in Sochi, the Live Demo crew set out to film a journey across Jordan. Starting in the far north of the country in the city of Jerash, the team, with David Coulthard driving the RB7, visited the Greco-Roman ruins of old Gerasa, racing alongside horse-drawn chariots in the ancient hippodrome. Following that they headed south with the RB7 to Petra, juxtaposing the thoroughly modern with one of the wonders of antiquity. Finally the team really opened the car up in the stunning expanse of Wadi Rum: wild and isolated but, given its use in every film from The Martian to Zero Dark Thirty, swiftly becoming as familiar a sight as Monument Valley after John Ford decided to make it the home of the Western.
Jordan was a pleasurable assignment for the crew – but difficult for the car. The team needed to have the RB7 jacked all the way up on its highest suspension setting. It needed outsized brake ducts and more engine cooling than would be the case at even the hottest grand prix. The team also had to deal with a sandstorm of the sort that can quite easily team a gearbox and engine internals to pieces – but everything worked out in the end. For DC is was a pleasant way to come full circle.
Petra was definitely something special.
"Many years ago, when I was a young Formula 3 driver I was lucky enough to meet King Hussein and since then it's always been in my mind that this would be a country I'd love to come and visit. We've literally covered the length and breadth this week and it's been a wonderful experience. I'll cherish the memories for a long, long time.
"It's always great to drive the car in areas you wouldn't normally be allowed to drive an F1 car. I've driven on city streets, over bridges, through tunnels... even on helipads – but driving around Petra was definitely something special. It's a remarkable feat of engineering and just makes you stop and stare. The highlight though was meeting the people. This is a peaceful place, very relaxed and very friendly. We've had a fantastic time."
The race team are now preparing for the Circuit de Catalunya and the first European Grand Prix of the season, while the Live Demo crew are back at the factory plotting their next adventure. Watching their exploits in Jordan, you can see anything is possible.
Imagery courtesy of Naim Chidiac and Motasam Awad