When the new Infiniti Red Bull RB11 formula race car hit the pre-season track in Jerez, Spain, not only was the new RB11 the final new team car to begin testing before the Formula One season starts, but it was also the most-talked about, as it appeared in full camouflage. The camouflage livery was immediately likened to allied warships during World War II, who wore similar black and white-striped paint schemes to confuse the enemy, but also by consumer automotive makers who often use the tactic to cover new cars in testing before they are officially unveiled.
With Infiniti Red Bull, however, the paint was more about being different and shaking things up, something the team is well known for, than it was about hiding details of the race car. The Infiniti Red Bull team has seen its own share of shakeups with lead driver and four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel leaving at the end of the race season last year to join the Ferrari team, but new car designs this year promise to make the circuit more competitive.
“The camouflage livery came out of a helmet Sebastian ran last year [at Monza] that was quite fun,” Christian Horner of Red Bull Racing explained to ESPN.
“We thought it would be interesting to extend that concept to the rest of the car. Dietrich [Mateschitz, Red Bull boss] liked it when he saw it, and it epitomises Red Bull really that we like to do things a bit differently.”
Some of the camouflage on the Infiniti Red Bull RB11 is there to hide some details, however, say some F1 commentators. The BBC’s sports commentator Andrew Benson believes that the livery hides the unique nose structure of the Infiniti Red Bull RB11 car, which splits airflow to both force air downward to hold the steer tires to the ground while allowing air to flow over towards the rear of the car to create more downforce and at the same time comply with new, stricter F1 rules requiring lower noses on race cars.
As for the Infiniti Red Bull team, they aren’t saying much about the car’s design. The camouflage will be removed for the opening race in Australia, kicking off this Formula One season, but a press release from the team outlining the car skims over other technical details. They do list the drivers for the season, however, which include Danill Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo being the primary drivers for the new RB11.