UNFAMILIAR LIVERY: Daniil Kvyat drives his 'camouflaged' Red Bull during Formula 1 testing in Jerez, Spain. AP / Miguel Morenatti.
JEREZ, Spain - Red Bull has caught the eye in Formula One preseason testing more for the car's black-and-white paint scheme than its speed around the track.
Team principal Christian Horner jokes that it has been done to stop rivals "getting detail shots of the car. This livery confuses your eye line."
Drivers Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo have been experiencing some problems in testing, with Kvyat damaging the front wing on Monday, and Ricciardo having to return to the pits early on Tuesday for an engine change.
Still, that has not distracted from the unusual sight of the RB11 car zooming around in a zebra-style camouflage - although Red Bull is set to revert back to its blue-purple design when the championship starts on March 15 in Melbourne. Preseason testing offers rivals a chance to snoop on each other in a bid to gain precious information. "Believe me, our real livery will not disappoint them once we have introduced it," Horner said on Tuesday.
The concept was originally thought up by former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel - who now drives for Ferrari - after he wore a camouflaged helmet last year.
"It was quite fun, and we thought it interesting to extend this concept to the entire car," Horner said. "It's quite striking, and impossible to get details and photographs of the car at this time of the year, when everybody tries to be as secretive as possible."
Red Bull won four straight constructors' championships with Vettel behind the wheel until Mercedes triumphed last year. Red Bull enters the season in unfamiliar territory: That of the outsider.
"The benchmark is not us this year, it's Mercedes," Horner said. "They go into this season as the firm favourite."
Red Bull won three races last year - compared to 20 over the previous two seasons - but Horner hopes a closer partnership with Renault will pay dividends. Renault is working only with Red Bull and feeder team Toro Rosso this season, having ended previous associations with Lotus, Caterham and Williams.
However, the tighter relationship with Renault is offset by the reduced role of Adrian Newey, the team's leading technical designer.
"He still has a passion for Formula One, and will very likely split his time 50-50 between the projects," Horner said. "He very likely will attend half the races."
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