Having had the car to beat in Formula 1 almost incessantly since mid-2009, Red Bull has a hard act to follow with this year's RB9.
Indeed the pressure to clinch a third straight championship last season hindered the car's development to the point where it was only just finished on time.
Even the car that was presented, amid great security, to the team's guests was draped with 2012-spec bodywork and far from its eventual Melbourne specification.
As continually underlined by Adrian Newey during the launch, this is an evolutionary car. The winter's work has been in the details and not on externally visible ideas. Only the briefest glimpse of the real car was available at the launch, but fortunately the team's photographers captured enough detail to highlight some differences.
The RB9 follows Sauber with a rear-facing nose slot
Red Bull's 2012 pre-season was initially hampered by a banned exhaust solution, meaning it had to revert to the periscope solution, while another exhaust and sidepod set-up was tested and readied for Melbourne.
The first half of 2012 was spent catching up with exhaust development and from a series of technical run-ins with the FIA. Only by Singapore did the tunnelled Coanda sidepod solution, by now shortened and stripped of the complex inner ducting, come good.
Having run a simple double DRS on the wing, Red Bull is now faced with several 2012 developments being banned by the few technical regulation changes. During the launch, Newey alluded to the front wing stiffness test as being particularly tough to meet.
The few new parts that were visible on the new car were limited to details around the nose and rear end. The monocoque and general layout of the car have remained surprisingly static, although some of the innovations adopted by other teams this year were already on the RB8.
What is new is surprisingly taken from another car, as both the nose and beam wing mount closely follow the 2012 Sauber.
Red Bull has kept the unique tunnelled Coanda sidepod set-up
The main part of the nosecone follows the RB8's bulbous shape and retains the small 'chin' added late last year, but the chassis join no longer sports the two letterbox slots. These fed cooling air to the driver and electronics, but also served to ease the airflow around the nose.
Now the step is a little less aggressive. It uses a short modesty panel, as Newey did not want to add unnecessary weight with a full-length one.
The Sauber-inspired idea is a small slot under the nose. This ducts airflow from under the nose to the rear facing slot at the interface between the nose and chassis. It both cleans up the boundary layer airflow under the nose and keeps the airflow attached over the nose, a design also retained on the 2013 Sauber.
Largely the sidepods are identical to the late-2012 Red Bull, with the narrow inlets, R-shaped vanes and tunnelled Coanda set-up.
All of the rear wing load is fed into an arched support on the gearbox
Now followed by Lotus, Red Bull's unique take on the Coanda exhaust and sidepod still appears to be Newey's chosen direction. With this set-up the exhaust plume follows the ramped bodywork to blow alongside the diffuser.
This blowing effect seals the diffuser, so the car can run more rear ride height and create even more downforce.
To solve the problem of the ramped sidepod blocking the flow around the car, the sidepod has a tunnel that feeds the airflow under the ramp and out over the diffuser. Being so similar to the 2012 design, no doubt this sidepod solution will evolve before Melbourne.
Red Bull again uses the Renault engine and elements of its KERS. Only the battery packs are bespoke for Red Bull's unique installation.
Unlike most other teams, Red Bull places its KERS batteries both in and either side of the gearbox. While this creates a slim coke bottle shape, it enforces quite a tall gear case.
The resulting spine along the top of the gearbox is now used as a Sauber-style mount to support the rear wing. From the gearbox an arched structure reaches over the beam wing and passes most of the loads from the rear wing into the chassis.
With so few evident updates, it would be easy to make an assumption that Red Bull might struggle this year.
While it's clear it was late with its programme, the inherent speed in its recent line of cars suggests the RB9 will be contender. It will take the bodywork updates to appear in testing to show what Newey really has in mind for 2013.
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