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Red Bull savour "emotional day" as RB16B makes track debut

Red Bull savour "emotional day" as RB16B makes track debut

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Red Bull savour "emotional day" as RB16B makes track debut

Red Bull savour "emotional day" as RB16B makes track debut

Red Bull took to the track for the first time with its 2021 challenger which new recruit Sergio Perez described as an "emotional day" for the team.

The team initially unveiled the car in a low-profile online launch on Tuesday.

Perez was then given the honour of being the first to drive the RB16B out of the garage at Silverstone for a shakedown filming day ahead of the new campaign, albeit in unrepresentative cold, blustery conditions.

“Driving a new car is always special for the driver and also for the team," said Perez.

"They have been working so hard through the winter, so to finally take the car on track, it’s quite an emotional day.”

Assessing the initial merits of the car, Perez added: “I can say I think there is a lot of potential. The conditions were not great but it was nice to get a feeling for the car. It’s pretty exciting."

Although Perez was unable to compare the car to last season's RB16, he could at least feel the difference between the new car and the two-year-old RB15 he drove on Tuesday at Silverstone.

"Earlier this week I drove the RB15 but today I could feel a step in overall grip and top speed,” added Perez.

With this year's car predominantly a carryover from the RB16, the team is hoping it will be quick out of the box when a record-breaking 23-race calendar commences in Bahrain at the end of March.

Max Verstappen finished last season strongly with pole position and victory in the final race of the campaign in Abu Dhabi, helping him to clinch third place in the drivers' standings.

After driving the RB15 in the morning to shake off some cobwebs, Verstappen then experienced the RB16B later in the day.

"It's a new car so you get comfortable with it, with the engine as well, and try and make things run very smoothly and be as prepared as you can be to go to the test in Bahrain," said Verstappen.

"Of course, there are differences. The big change is the floor, they've cut it a lot on the rear so the car is always going to behave a bit differently.

"But it's not about set-up work or whatever, it's about getting comfortable with the car and getting a basic understanding of the car, and then all the work has to be done in Bahrain."

Team principal Christian Horner hailed the day as a positive one for the team as he said: "It’s always great to see a new car hit the track for the first time and to see the drivers get their first laps in.

"Today is mainly just about making sure all the basics are functioning well before it all gets packed up and sent out to Bahrain and in that regard today was a success."

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