Eagle-eyed fans spot early design clues as Max Verstappen drives RB19 for first time

Mark Scott
Max Verstappen at a Red Bull photoshoot. London 2023.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is photographed in new team gear ahead of the 2023 season.

Max Verstappen has driven the Red Bull RB19 for the first time, with fans poring over amateur footage taken from a filming day at Silverstone.

Red Bull had already ‘launched’ the RB19 in New York City on February 3, but understandably gave very little away during the event as a display car was used to unveil the traditional blue, red and yellow livery.

Fast forward a week, though, and we are slowly but surely starting to see the F1 2023 cars in the actual flesh.

Alfa Romeo were the first team to show off their new-look challenger at a filming day in Barcelona on Friday, while today has also seen Haas reveal the real VF23 to the world.

Sandwiched in between is Red Bull, who took to the Silverstone track on Friday for a little bit of shakedown action with Verstappen behind the wheel.

While Red Bull were of course not going to give anything away, some amateur detectives on social media have provided some harder evidence to work with.

While most observations have to be taken with a bucket load of salt until we at least get to pre-season testing in Bahrain, based on the above footage it appears Red Bull have taken a page of the Mercedes playbook when it comes the sidepod design.

With the sidepods appearing to flatten out towards the back, it is not quite zero-pod territory…but not far off. Or maybe this is another decoy by Red Bull and their true car design is still firmly under wraps. It’s all part of the pre-season fun and speculation.

Other observations made include a wider nose, and an air intake design that also seems to resemble the same philosophy as Mercedes.

It was a smooth day for Verstappen in the new car, who appeared to have no major dramas on Friday.

“I’ve just driven the RB19 for the first time,” Verstappen reported.

“Of course, it’s a filming day, but I think it was a good first impression, everything worked really well, everything worked really smooth, so that’s exactly what you want from a day like this.”

Launch season continues with Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri kick-starting their campaign in New York City at 2230 GMT.

Then Aston Martin and McLaren kick-off another busy week with both teams launching on Monday, February 13. Ferrari follows on February 14, then Mercedes (Feb 15) and Alpine conclude the launches on Thursday, Feb 16.