Red Bull unveils 2018 car with special edition livery

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull has unveiled its car for the 2018 season, the RB14.

The car was released on Monday with a special edition black and blue livery, with the team set to unveil its "race-ready paint job" ahead of the first day of pre-season testing on February 26. Daniel Ricciardo will be the first to pilot the new car as it hits the Silverstone track for a filming day which coincides with the launch.

The car also features Red Bull's version of the Halo cockpit protection device, which has become a point of intruige on the new cars since launch season started. Also of note is the prominence of Aston Martin branding, marking the start of the iconic British car manufacturer's title sponsorship of the team.

The release -- Red Bull is the third team to do so for the new season -- marks a break in the team's tradition of releasing a car as close to winter testing as possible, which it has done to avoid the setbacks encountered in 2017.

Explaining the late launch, the team's announcement said: "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."

Ahead of Ricciardo's day behind the wheel, the team tweeted an image of him getting ready, with overalls coloured in the same fashion as its one-off colour scheme.

The team then shared the first image of the RB14 on the soaking Silverstone track, equipped with Pirelli's wet-weather tyres.