The last of the top three teams to unveil their expected title challenger, Red Bull Racing has pulled the covers off it's highly anticipated 2013 entry, the RB9.
However, with a lack of regulation changes between the two seasons, the RB9 doesn't seem to be quite as radical or as adventurous as some onlookers might have expected from a team that has Adrian Newey as it's chief technical officer.
When compared with the RB8 it succedes, there are very few obvious external changes to the RB9: unless you're diagnosed with deuteranopia or are completely colour-blind, most people will notice instantly the change from a dark-blue livery to an all-new purple scheme, as part of the team's official rebranding as 'Infiniti Red Bull Racing".
However, as Newey himself stated during the launch ceremony – and almost mirroring the words of Lotus F1's James Allison – the car design itself is an "evolutionary" one, and "the devil is very much in the detail".
Indeed, whilst the Milton Keynes-based team have put a lock-down on almost all images of the RB9 being published – at the launch ceremony, RBR staff were actively enforcing a 'No cameras' policy when the covers were removed – nor has the team historically been that inclined to reveal everything about their car until it's first run on the track, the handful of hi-res images and screengrabs from the accompanying promo trailer do suggest a handful of slight alterations to the RB9.
The most noticeable changes seem to be targeted more towards the front of the car, in particular the front wing and the nosecone (understandable, perhaps, given one of the only noteworthy changes to the regulations requiring the structural rigidity of that area of the car).
For instance, the letterbox-style slot in the step has been covered up by an incredibly short vanity panel, which does more to form a slope than actually disquise the step itself.
Indeed, Newey goes as far to say the panel is as short as it is because, if it were any longer, the weight penalty would be "unjustifiable".
The drooping section at the tip of the nosecone is also reminiscent of the post-Singapore spec RB8, which is perhaps a bit of an odd inclusion in the overall design – given F1 designers seem intent on channelling as much air under that sectio of the car as possible, adding a piece of bodywork that mildly disrupts the airflow to that section is bizarre, to say the least.
Bar what appear to be revisions to the pylons near the sidepods, though, all appears to be a nip and tuck brush up of the RB8. This is further backed up by Newey's remarks that he and his team had "we tidied up some bits we felt could be improved on".
First impressions of the RB9:
For obvious reasons, we can't be 100% exact with our statements and predictions when it comes to analysing this year's F1 cars before they've turned a wheel in anger, and that's certainly the case with the Red Bull Racing RB9: so secretive are the team, we only know of changes that have been made to the front of the car, and even then they're only the tip of the iceberg of what the team will eventually bring to Jerez next week.
We do, though, know for certain that – as with every other team so far – the RB9 marks an evolutionary step-forward from the RB8. The development race will be what determines the outcome of the RB9's tenure in Formula One and, if last year is anything to go by, that sure does bode well for the new single-seater.
After all, Red Bull was able to massage an RB8 that wasn't quite as dominant as most were perhaps expecting it to be, into a car was just able to nab Vettel his third consecutive Drivers' Championship title, and bring home a comfortable lead in the Constructors' Championship comes season's end in Brazil.
As a result, whilst nothing is 100% certified fact as of yet, it'd be incredibly naive without hindsight's blessing to assume Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be anywhere else other than at the front of the pack.
And, with the team eager to score a fourth consecutive Drivers' and Constructors' Championship win this year, you can rest assured that, no matter what the RB9 ends up looking like, it will most likely be at the forefront of the fight for glory from start to finish.