The RB18 Charging Into A New Era Of Formula One
© Vladimir Rys

Barcelona Pre-Season Shakedown

We’re back up and running for the 2022 season with three days of pre-season running in Barcelona.
Written by Oracle Red Bull Racing
7 min readUpdated on

Day One

Driver: Max Verstappen
Car: RB18
Laps: Max - 147
Best time: Max - 1:22.246
Circuit length: 4.655km
Oracle Red Bull Racing today charged into a new generation of Formula One competition as defending F1 World Champion Max Verstappen put the Team’s all-new RB18 car through its paces at a pre-season shakedown in Spain.
The 2022 season features the most extensive set of regulation changes ever seen in F1 and the clean-sheet approach to the sport’s technical regulations have resulted in a radically different look for the RB18.
And Max, who today brought the champion’s number one to a car for the first time in F1 since 2014, launched the Team’s 2022 campaign with a marathon workout at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya that totalled 147 laps of the 4.655 kilometre track, the largest single driver total of the opening day at the Montmélo venue.
And commenting on a day on which he completed almost two-and-a-half Spanish Grand Prix race distances Max said: “I think the car looks good but the most important thing is that it is fast, and that’s what we are trying to see. We wanted to get laps in today to get used to the car and to get a general understanding about how it’s behaving. As well as that, we needed the mileage to see how the parts held up. Everything worked pretty well, so it was a good start and a positive day. Tonight, we will look into things in more detail and see what we need to do to improve. Checo will drive tomorrow and then I am looking forward to getting back in the RB18 on Friday.”
Oracle Red Bull Racing CEO and Team Principal Christian Horner said: “It was a very short off-season, but it’s great to be back at the track and see the number one on the car, it’s been a long time since it’s been on an F1 car and our target this year is to keep it there. We are excited to get this new era of the sport underway and see the car run on track in anger for the first time.
With such a big regulation change it’s even more fascinating this year. We’ve got a great Team and we’re fully motivated coming into this season. Max felt the car was good to drive, so it was a positive first morning. It is going to be a good year for Checo, now he is in his second year with us more familiar with the Team.”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “I’m happy because today went really well for the Team. We gave ourselves the optimistic target of 700km and we finished around three laps short of that, which for the first day of testing is quite unusual. Things went well, we did some tests and we have a good direction for how to improve the car. Max is pleased so far, there are some balance limitations but nothing that makes us think we need to turn things upside down to make the car work.”
Blue Skies For Pre-Season Testing In Spain

Blue Skies For Pre-Season Testing In Spain

© Vladimir Rys


Day Two

Driver: Checo Perez
Car: RB18
Laps: 78
Best time: 1:21.430
Day two of Formula One’s pre-season shakedown saw Oracle Red Bull Racing driver Checo Perez take over from teammate Max Verstappen at the wheel of the RB18. And though the Mexican driver’s first taste of running in anger ahead of his second season with the Team was interrupted by a late morning gearbox issue, Checo still managed to complete 78 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during a productive session for the Team.
After his opening day in the cockpit of the all-new car Checo said: “We took some good learnings from today and I’m pleased with that. We are trying some very different things and we have a lot of information to work through, so I think in the meetings it is important to go in-depth and give the engineers as much feedback as possible. The issue with the gearbox took a little bit longer to fix than we expected, but it is fine, it’s expected that these things happen at testing. I’ll be back in the car tomorrow and I hope the weather stays dry.”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “Checo got up to speed pretty quickly this morning and his feedback is pretty much the same as Max’s, which means we know where we are going and everything is fairly settled. Every time the car comes back to the garage we’re making changes and fine-tuning the direction so, all in all, I’m happy. We had a small issue today, which meant we lost around half a day’s running but we aren’t particularly worried about the problem itself, it is just a pain that we lost that time. However, it shouldn’t affect things in the long-term, as we have a solid platform and we’re happy with the progress we’re making.”
Checo On Track In The RB18

Checo On Track In The RB18

© Getty Images


Day Three

Driver: Max Verstappen | Checo Perez
Car: RB18
Laps: Max - 59 | Checo - 74
Best time: Max - 1:19.756 | Checo - 1:19.556
Oracle Red Bull Racing finished a productive week at Formula One’s pre-season shakedown event in Barcelona this evening. Both Max Verstappen and Checo Perez were in the car on Friday, with the World Champion running during the morning session and the Mexican taking over the wheel for the afternoon respectively.
Max completed 59 laps in the RB18 before Checo clocked up 74 in some wet weather conditions at a cloudy Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya. The drivers will return to the track in Bahrain next month for final testing, before the F1 season begins on March 17.
After the morning session Max said: “Everything worked well in the running we got and the car felt good, but our morning was somewhat interrupted by a number of red flags across the session so we couldn’t complete all of our planned programme. We just continued from what I did on day one and I think that was the most important objective for Barcelona. What is positive is that the car is running smoothly, I don’t pay attention to the lap times just yet, I will look into that when we get into Q3 in Bahrain. I just focus on doing a lot of laps and nailing down every single aspect of the car. I have really enjoyed driving the RB18 this week, it has a nice stable balance and I think it looks cool as well so it’s good to jump into. I think following does seem a little easier in these cars, of course we won’t know if there is any real change until race one when everyone is on the same tyres and fuel, but my initial thoughts are that I do think it’s a step forward.”
Checo experienced the new generation of F1 cars for the second time this week on Friday and after spending an afternoon in the RB18 added: “I think we have a good baseline and good potential. It is obviously early days, but I am really hopeful we will make some good steps before Bahrain and keep progressing with all the information we are going to gather from Barcelona. It is important to keep learning from my driving and the way I am adapting to the car and my team and then what the best way will be to maximise that. I think this season the challenge will be about maximising the whole weekend under the new regulations.”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “We had a good day today, the drivers were happy and we started to put in some decent lap times. To sum up the week I would say it has been a very promising few days with this new car and the most pleasing thing for me is that we have got a solid platform and direction to build from. We will consolidate some things that we have learnt here before Bahrain, but it is more considerate than a big step.”

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