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COLUMN - PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 11TH 2009
Edd Straw Straw Poll: Red Bull rising
Now that Red Bull have unveiled the car they hope will finally propel them to victory, Edd Straw reports back from the team's launch in Jerez.

  By Edd Straw
 
 

Red Bull took their time creating the new RB5, unveiling it a month after the Ferrari F60 became the first of the 2009 cars to break cover in Italy.

So you might be tempted to ask what difference would another three-quarters of an hour made at yesterday's launch in Jerez? Well a fair bit, in terms of light, as it happens. And the delayed unveiling in the pitlane at least meant that everyone could see the detailing on Red Bull Racing's seventh, and most visually impressive, new car to date.

There was a palpable sense of optimism surrounding the whole team, even though they were careful not to set any clear targets or answer the question of whether Red Bull Racing's fifth year in Formula 1 would yield their first win.

The centre of attention was, of course, Adrian Newey. Or, as Red Bull parlance would have it Adrian Newey and his design team for the days of the superstar designer putting the whole car together have long since passed.

Sebastian Vettel pushes the limit in the Red Bull RB5 LAT
Newey had the air of an excited parent about him. The RB5 looks like a car which is the result of a design process that has explored every possible avenue, although Newey was careful not to make any predictions despite many expecting this to be the latest supercar in the Newey canon.

"It has been a long time since we had such a big rule change, so it's a nervous time because it's the opportunity to do something different and there's always the possibility that others will think of something that you haven't," he said. "It's been a very busy period, the busiest time I've had in F1 probably since my first year at McLaren because there has been so much to do in a very short space of time. We really got going last April and it has been flat out ever since."

As well as Newey, there was also plenty of interest in Mark Webber, due to be back in action on Wednesday after breaking his leg in November. Not that the unlucky breaks seem to have subsided in the Webber household, with the Australian admitting that his pet Rhodesian Ridgeback dog had toppled his housekeeper Pauline and left her with a broken leg only a few days ago.

Fortunately, Webber's limbs have not befallen any more accidents of late and despite a visible limp after surgery last week, he doesn't come across as a man overly concerned about his fitness for the Australian Grand Prix. But there remain question marks over his astonishing bad luck, what with arguments with Nissan X-Trails, tram-induced grand prix retirements and assaults from fellow Red Bull drivers under the safety car on his recent record. So how is it that he is such a slave to misfortune?

"I asked the question when I had the shunt why did it have to happen to me?" he said. "But I wasn't thinking that I was unlucky because I was going to have an amazing season this year. It's just another hurdle in my life to get over."

An unfortunate choice of metaphor perhaps, as Webber admitted he won't be able to run a marathon for a while, let alone hurdle. But with arguably his strongest-ever F1 teammate in Sebastian Vettel to face down, that famous Webber determination has come to the fore so expect him to be ready with all guns blazing come Melbourne.

Opinion is divided as to which of the duo is going to give Red Bull Racing it's first victory (Vettel has, of course, already notched up the first win for a Red Bull car for Scuderia Toro Rosso), and it seems that Newey's RB5 and its two drivers will be one of the most fascinating sub-plots of the 2009 season.

  FEATURES FROM FEB 5, 2009 - FEB 11, 2009
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Carl Edwards: The man who would be king
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  ABOUT EDD STRAW
Edd Straw was appointed AUTOSPORT's Formula 1 editor in 2008 after covering most forms of motorsport from club racing to international single-seaters, and from Le Mans to World Touring Cars.

A full-time AUTOSPORT staff member since 2002, Edd held the post of news editor prior to his switch to F1 and has also contributed to a number of other motorsport publications around the world.

In his spare time, Guernsey-born Edd is an enthusiastic, if only moderately successful, amateur racing driver who has raced in a variety of categories, including the European Ferrari Challenge, the Maserati Trofeo Cup and the British Ginetta G20 Championship.
Contact Edd Straw
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