Red Bull Advanced Technologies has shocked with the news that it will launch a 1250bhp hybrid hypercar in 2025 to rival the Mercedes-AMG One and Gordon Murray T50.
It is the work of revered F1 engineer Adrian Newey, who is treating the project as a refinement of the ideas contained in the Aston Martin Valkyrie, his first hypercar effort. We sat down with Newey to find out more about how the project came to be, and to get an idea of what to expect.
How did RB17 come about?
"We've had a lot of interest from people who asked, ‘What's it like to drive a Formula 1 car?'. It started me thinking: ‘How about we develop a two-seater capable of Formula 1 performance levels?'."
When did you start work?
"Christmas period 2020-21."
It coincides with lockdowns and less F1 work as 2021’s regulations were postponed. Is RB17 a Covid baby?
(Smiles) "In the longer terms it was a Covid baby, as you say…"
Why a two-seater if you’re attempting to replicate an F1 experience?
"A two-seater car seems a lot more enjoyable for most people. You might choose to have a coach with you; you can take your [partner], children, whoever you decide as a passenger, so it makes for a more sociable experience."
What are the dimensions and weight, relative to the Aston Martin Valkyrie?
"A little bit bigger because of bigger tires, the wheelbase is a bit longer simply because in chasing a low centre of gravity you end up with the usual [F1] serial packaging problem: where to put the driver, then the fuel tank, then the engine, then energy recovery system, then the gearbox... In truth, the Valkyrie’s wheelbase is a bit too short because it was designed as a road car.
"We are concentrating hard on weight, we are targeting 900kg plus driver. It’s got two seats and closed bodywork and a closed roof, which cost weight [relative to F1]. You don't have the same degree of lifing as with [F1] components, so you design them to be longer life components. More weight."