A new-look livery and new engine partner as Red Bull continue launch season?

Henry Valantine
Red Bull RB19 concept livery. February 2023.

Red Bull RB19 concept livery. February 2023.

Red Bull head into today’s 2023 car launch teasing a “blank canvas”, according to their social media channels, so could we see a change this year? The wait is almost over…

And, if ever-increasing rumours are to be believed about possible future power unit partners, change could well be on the horizon at the reigning Drivers’ and Constructors’ champions, with Ford heavily linked with a potential partnership with Red Bull in time for Formula 1’s new power unit regulations to take effect in 2026.

Such a move would see another enormous automotive brand take the step into the sport, following Audi’s lead with a move into Formula 1 via Sauber in time for the sport’s new era.

And following an accidental leak in the Italian media on Thursday, it appears a Red Bull-Ford partnership is very much on the cards from 2026 onwards, with the team reportedly getting set to take on the Ford name on its power units in the new era of the sport – though this has not been confirmed by either side.

But beyond that, Red Bull are taking a different approach altogether with their livery launch this year altogether – with they and AlphaTauri taking to the United States to unveil their cars in New York.

Some have speculated that a Ford link could be a reason behind the deal, given they’re an American brand, though this claim has been denied – and AlphaTauri’s launch coincides with New York Fashion Week on February 10, with the team’s clothing brand a big focus on the marketing side of things.

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Ford recently confirmed they had been taking an interest in Formula 1 due to the focus on sustainability coming in the new regulations from 2026, but stopped short of commenting on speculation linking them directly with Red Bull.

The American car giants have not been involved with the sport since their engine deal with Jaguar and Jordan ended, upon Red Bull buying the Jaguar team in time for the 2005 season.

It is looking an increasingly likely proposition that a Ford partnership might be announced at the same time the RB19 breaks cover, but nothing will be official until the team confirms its plans in New York on Friday.

Moving on, it’s normally at this point that we would discuss what the livery might look like. But if any of the previous 18 Red Bull colour schemes are anything to go by, if you’ve seen one, you probably get the idea.

Bar the odd change of shade of blue, sponsor name changes and particular one-off special liveries (their Star Wars colour scheme in Monaco and recent Honda tribute at Suzuka spring to mind), most Red Bulls have looked pretty much the same over the years – from the RB1 all the way through to the RB18.

You can’t accuse Red Bull of not being consistent when it comes to their branding, that’s for sure.

But with their posting of an all-white car on social media and teasing a “blank canvas” for the year ahead prior to the livery being designed, who knows what the team could come up with this time?

Here’s a selection of what has come before, however:

2005 – Red Bull RB1

Christian Klien drives for Red Bull at Monza. Italy 2005.
Christian Klien drives the Red Bull RB1 at Monza. Italy 2005.

This car was far from a world beater, but who would bank on Red Bull coming into Formula 1 and heading straight to the top? You’d have to be rather fanciful, putting it politely.

David Coulthard and Christian Klien piloted Red Bull’s first effort for most of the 2005 season, with Vitantonio Liuzzi also taking part in several rounds after the team took on the former Jaguar outfit languishing in the midfield.

A steady P7 finish in the Constructors’ Championship was a relatively good return for the team on its first season, but after a few years of building, the best was very much ahead of them.

2013 – Red Bull RB9

Sebastian Vettel wins. Red Bull India 2013.
Sebastian Vettel celebrates his fourth World Championship title with the Red Bull RB7. India 2013.

After three consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles with Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel, the RB9 would prove to be the most dominant Red Bull Formula 1 had seen to date.

A ridiculously successful run in the second half of the season saw the German wrap up his fourth World title with plenty to spare, winning each of the last nine races to completely dominate the 2013 season and sign off the V8 era in style.

Things went downhill for Red Bull for a few years after a turbulent engine partnership with Renault, before recapturing the Drivers’ title in controversial style in 2021 – but what would follow the year after could have no debate.

2022 – Red Bull RB18

Max Verstappen runs in FP2. Abu Dhabi November 2022.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in action under the lights during free practice. Abu Dhabi November 2022.

This car set the benchmark for all future Red Bull cars to follow, winning 17 of the 22 races last season and Max Verstappen taking 15 wins in a single season, an all-time record in Formula 1.

In the new ground effect era of aerodynamics, an area of expertise for design guru Adrian Newey given he wrote his university thesis on the subject, Red Bull were in a ding-dong battle with Ferrari, but their strategic poise combined with Verstappen’s driving skill won out time and time again over the Scuderia.

Can the RB19 follow in its illustrious predecessor’s footsteps? Well, Ferrari and Mercedes will certainly be looking to be hot on Red Bull’s heels every step of the way.

The first step will come on Friday, finding out what it actually looks like…