Red Bull has offered the first glimpse of its 2019 F1 car, the RB15, in an eye-catching one-off livery.
The car was launched in a striking dark blue and red colour scheme which the team confirmed was just for the RB15's first shakedown at Silverstone on Wednesday. A more traditional Red Bull livery is expected for the opening day of testing in Barcelona on Monday.
After five years without championship success, Red Bull is switching from Renault power to Honda this year. Honda supplied Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso last year, but in a Red Bull chassis it could have its first shot at a race victory since returning to F1 in 2015.
Red Bull has a history of claiming headlines with testing liveries, which are designed not just to create publicity around the launch but also hide some of its less obvious aerodynamic features. However, the press images still show how tightly Red Bull has managed to package its new Honda engine behind the driver.
Red Bull finished third in the constructors' championship behind Mercedes and Ferrari last year, but despite the change in engine supplier and the potential disruption that could bring, team boss Christian Horner is confident the team can challenge for victories more often.
"Progress is obviously our target," Horner said. "We've sat in the void between Ferrari and Mercedes and the rest of the field for the last two seasons now. We've obviously been able to strike at venues that have suited the characteristics of our car, winning four races last year -- should have been five -- and three races the year before.
"So our objective very much is to try and be more consistent across all of the circuits, and hopefully with more horsepower than we had last year will only help to lessen that gap. So our target is very much to put up a more consistent challenge across a whole variance of circuits, rather than just shining and circuits that were power-limited."
The car will be driven by Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly this year after Daniel Ricciardo opted to leave the team to join Renault over the winter.
"I'm very excited to just get started with the engine," Verstappen said. "I really want to feel how it upshifts, downshifts, how the driveability is, how much power there is. And from there onwards, you just start to work together with the car [to see] what you can improve."
"With Honda, we're expecting a lot, we're all very positive but I think it also needs to take a little bit of time, it cannot be from race one it will be perfect. For sure there will be moments where, as a team, we make mistakes or it's not going as we want it to, but I think what is very important is that the team and Honda, we are pushing really hard to improve the development. At the moment, I am of course very optimistic, but also realistic and I think time will tell how we are going to perform."
After a year of Honda experience with Toro Rosso last year and a season with Japanese manufacturer in Super Formula in 2017, Gasly is looking forward to continuing the relationship at the senior Red Bull team.
"I've had the chance to have spent two years with Honda already, first time in Super Formula, so I went to Japan a lot, spent time in the country to learn the culture to learn the way they communicate, the way they work and it's really different than what we have in Europe so you really need to adapt yourself to the culture and understand how things work there if you want to extract the best from the people," he said. "And for sure this helped me in Toro Rosso as well.
"There are a lot of things you need to understand about them, and I had the chance to be there and be in the country to learn this, so for sure, I think on this side, this will help the relation I will have with the engineers. But then after, for sure, we need to give them time as well. Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport. You fight against teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and when you start a new partnership, it always takes time before things run super smoothly and in the most efficient way. So I think it will take time, but both Red Bull and Honda have the same targets and I'm sure they will manage to achieve what they want."