Red Bull debuts sleek sidepods in F1 testing

Max Verstappen aboard the Red Bull RB18 at pre-season Formula 1 testing

Red Bull’s appearance on the opening day of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain proved a key talking point as track action began.

It was the first time the RB18 has been seen in any detail publicly after the team released its livery aboard a show car earlier this month.

Max Verstappen was the first behind the wheel of the 2022 machine, which sports notably undercut sidepods unlike those seen on any other car.

Formula 1 this season has adopted an all-new aerodynamic philosophy with a return to ground effects.

That sees cars develop most of their grip under the floor, with simplified wings and aerodynamic devices in the airstream.

Teams have approached the challenge differently, with Wednesday in Spain the first time they’ve had a chance to review their rival’s designs first-hand.

Red Bull ran the RB18 on track at Silverstone last week, though only grainy images which masked any detail emerged.

In Spain, it sported pull rod front suspension while the rear is a push rod design operating in concert with its sidepod design.

Whether the solution proves the one to beat remains to be seen, though in the opening hour of the test Verstappen clocked up more than 20 laps.

He was one of just three drivers to do so, making for a promisingly reliable opening to the 2022 season for last year’s world champion.

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