We have a 2018 car! After several months with a collection of parts and a long job list, today we’re making the next big step…

Daniel Ricciardo is taking the all-new Aston Martin-Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer RB14 for a spin at Silverstone as we conduct a pre-season filming day.

The RB14 is currently wearing a special edition livery. We’re keeping our race-ready paint job under wraps for the time being and will unveil it at the Circuit de Catalunya next week. The unfamiliar shapes under the paint, however, are here to stay.

New bodywork regulations always dominate the news cycle in the launch season – but 2018 has a bigger acreage of change than most years with the introduction of the Halo and the new exclusion zones on the rear of the car that effectively remove shark fins, monkey seats and T-wings. Some years it’s difficult for the casual viewer to differentiate the new car from the old: that isn’t going to be a problem this time around.

That said, the technical regulations haven’t changed hugely for 2018. Installing the Halo has been a challenge –
mostly in terms of building a chassis strong enough to accommodate it and pass a brutal homologation test – but the rest of the regs have been comparatively stable. That’s the primary reason we’re able to launch earlier than usual.

The pattern of the last few years has been to launch ‘aggressively late’. 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.

We’ll be filming at Silverstone and the footage will give fans an early-season fix across our channels before testing proper begins next week. Alongside the formal group tests, teams are allowed to conduct two of these promotional events each year, within strict guidelines that limit running to 100km and mandate the use of a specific tyre compound developed by Pirelli for this type of running.

Basically, Daniel’s not going to be setting any records at Silverstone – but it’s an incredibly valuable exercise nonetheless.