Red Bull launch special edition version of 2018 car ahead of Formula One testing

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A special edition of the RB14, Red Bull's car for 2018.

Red Bull have unveiled a special edition new car for the 2018 Formula One season.

The team is notorious for keeping their car under wraps for as long as possible – “aggressively late,” as Red Bull said on their website – but this year they’ve decided to move their launch to a week before pre-season training begins in a bid to hit the ground running, after suffering from slow starts in recent season.

“The pattern of the last few years has been to launch ‘aggressively late’,” Red Bull said in a statement on the launch.”This has allowed the design department the maximum amount of time to add goodness to the car before the cut-off point at which the design is frozen and a launch car produced.

“It’s been not uncommon to have the car finished, fired up for the first time and shipped to Spain for the start of testing all on the same day.

“It serves a purpose – but you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t have to, and this year we didn’t have to. It’s preferable to finish the car early and deal with any snags now, when the car is on a track a short drive from the factory, rather than using up one of our eight ultra-precious test days doing the same at the Circuit de Catalunya.”

Red Bull will have Aston Martin as their title sponsor for the first time, although they are continuing with the Tag Heuer-branded Renault engine.

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14, in special edition livery.

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14, in special edition livery.

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB14 is expected to be Red Bull’s first serious title contender since the team’s championship victory in 2013, as they’ve had to be content with running Mercedes and Ferrari close, and topping their rivals on specific race weekends, in the seasons that have followed.

Daniel Ricciardo will be the first to test the RB14, with the Australian set to take the car out later on Monday for a drive on the Silverstone circuit.

Monday’s launch is for a special edition of the car, with a black and blue livery. The traditional red and blue livery will return next week when teams begin pre-season testing in Barcelona.

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Grid girls will not feature in Formula 1 from 2018 season

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Formula One has ended the practice of using scantily clad “grid girls” before races, the sport’s organisers Liberty Media said on Wednesday.

They said the practice of having the women milling about in the grid area before races was “clearly at odds with modern day societal norms”.

Darts took a similar decision this month, banning the women who walk on with the players before matches.

“Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport,” said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1.

“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”

Bratches said the practice was not “appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world”.

The decision by F1 bosses to axe the grid girls, one of the sport’s long-standing pre-race traditions, is expected to bring similar pressure onto organisers of boxing and motorcycling who routinely use attractive women in event promotions.

The treatment and media image of women in sport has been drawn into sharp focus after the momentum sparked by the #MeToo campaign which has highlighted allegations of sexual misconduct in the world of entertainment and politics.

However, boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said Wednesday he will not remove ring card girls from his fights.

“The ring card girls have been a part of boxing history for many, many years. As far as I am aware, darts will still have dancers on stage performing, but the walk-on girls were not really necessary,” Hearn told GQ magazine.

“From a boxing point of view, we want to keep the traditions of the sport going and in my opinion it has nothing to do with sexism or feminism. It is just a part of boxing and until we are told otherwise.”

Women’s groups, however, backed the F1 decision.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Mercedes to unveil new car at Silverstone in February

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Lewis Hamilton will take the wraps off the Mercedes he hopes will fire him to a fifth Formula One championship next month.

Mercedes, who last year sealed a fourth consecutive constructors’ title, are set to launch their car for the forthcoming campaign at Silverstone on February 22.

Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas will also get their first taste of this year’s Mercedes with the team due to complete 60 miles of running at the Silverstone track.

Mercedes rivals’ Ferrari are also due to unveil their car on the same day, while British team McLaren –

who will be hoping for a reverse in their miserable fortunes following the switch from Honda to Renault power for 2018 – have announced they will break cover with their new challenger on February 23.

The opening winter test gets under way in Barcelona three days later with Melbourne playing host to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 25.

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