Red Bull Racing Honda RB16B - 2021 Baku Grand Prix
- Scale guide
The car that delivered a first championship since 2013, the Red Bull Racing Honda RB16B was an evolution of the double race winning RB16 of the 2020 season. Piloted by Dutch favourite Max Verstappen, in his sixth year with the team, and Mexican Sergio Pérez, who joined from Racing Point, the RB16B proved its mettle, taking the fight to the hybrid-era dominating Mercedes team. Though the team would ultimately be unsuccessful in its Constructors’ title aspirations, Verstappen emerged victorious against the reigning Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton in an intense season-long battle that came down to the final lap at the final race in Abu Dhabi. It was a season filled with drama, on-track action and controversy, in which Verstappen was ultimately crowned the first Dutch World Champion.
The RB16B was based on the same chassis as the 2020 car, as dictated by the 2021 regulations after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted teams to agree to a series of cost-reducing measures, including a postponement of the new regulations and a majority freeze of the current rules. However, though the car shared its name and under-structure with the previous season’s car, the team had made general refinements in every component. Aerodynamic improvements were visible on the nose, the car featured new brake ducts for the front discs, and the bargeboards had undergone further development. The car’s floor was reduced by about 100mm towards the rear, as per the regulations. Much of the interest about the Red Bull was focused on the rear of the car, with the team having spent its two development tokens adjusting its gearbox carrier and rear suspension, to improve the car’s aerodynamics at the rear end, something of particular importance with the regulation changes made to reduce downforce. The only major difference that could be seen with the naked eye on the rear wing was a new single central pylon support. The 2020 RB16 broke Red Bull tradition with a double-supported rear wing, but with the RB16B the team returned to a more familiar concept.
The real beating heart of the RB16B was the 2021 power unit: the Honda RA621H. After their announcement that they will be leaving Formula 1 at the end of the season, the Japanese manufacturer implemented all their scheduled 2022 changes into the 2021 power unit in an attempt to equalise the performance of their unsurpassed Mercedes competitor. Some features of the RA621H included a notably lowered and more compact camshaft layout, a different valve angle and shorter cylinder bore spacing than its predecessor, effectively creating a significantly smaller engine with a lower centre of gravity. From 2022 onwards, Red Bull managed their own engine development within a new “Red Bull Powertrain” department.
The opening races in Bahrain and Imola set the scene for the season, with two thrilling battles for victory between Verstappen and Hamilton, winning a race apiece. Momentum swung back towards Hamilton and Mercedes in Portugal and Spain, though Verstappen still claimed second place at both to keep on the pressure. Verstappen dominated in Monaco, propelling the Dutchman and his team into first position in their respective Championships. Pérez, meanwhile, scored respectable points in the opening races for his new team, finishing fourth twice and fifth another two times. Verstappen led the standings, for the first time in his career, going into Azerbaijan. His RB16B was dominant, right until a tyre explosion caused him to suffer a terrifying retirement, as he was catapulted into a wall at speed. Hamilton suffered his own brake issues at the restart, leaving the door wide open for Pérez to earn his maiden victory for Red Bull. Verstappen extended his advantage over the first triple-header with a hat-trick of wins of varying styles, beginning with a two-stop strategy in France – passing Hamilton with one lap left – before doubling up in the Styrian Grand Prix, where he led all 71 laps, and dominating once again at the same circuit in Austria.
The British Grand Prix at Silverstone hosted the sport’s first-ever Sprint, which saw Verstappen earn pole position after a move on Hamilton into the first corner. However, due the subsequent race, the rivalry between the duo would explode. Battling straight off the line, the pair tussled through the first eight corners before Hamilton attempted an aggressive pass through the inside of the fast Copse corner and contact sent Verstappen spinning hard into the barriers and out of the race. Considered by many to be a racing incident, the stewards decided Hamilton was predominantly to blame, though he shrugged off his punishment for a late victory. The fallout, however, spiralled. The rivalry would never be the same. Pérez struggled through the weekend, having crashed in the sprint race and started the race from the pit lane.
The Hungarian GP saw carnage on the opening lap as Valtteri Bottas ploughed into Lando Norris, who hit Verstappen as a result, causing significant damage to the Red Bull. The Dutchman persevered unlike his teammate, who retired also being collected by Bottas, and salvaged ninth position. After the summer break, Verstappen claimed a controversial victory at a shortened Belgian Grand Prix, before claiming an emphatic triumph in front of an adoring home crowd at Zandvoort. The drama reignited at Monza in race fourteen of the season, as Verstappen and Hamilton collided again, triggering a double retirement. This time, Verstappen was adjudged the aggressor and was punished with a three-place grid penalty for the subsequent race in Russia. There, he recovered from the back of the grid to claim second position. Pérez struggled over these three races, only earning three points thanks to an eighth-place finish in Zandvoort and a ninth in Sochi.
Verstappen outscored Hamilton in Turkey, and then took consecutive victories in the USA and Mexico, gaining a 19-point lead in the Championship. Pérez hit his best form for the season with three consecutive third place finishes, meaning Red Bull were just a single point behind Mercedes, with four races to go. Hamilton and Mercedes were not ready to give up, and responded with three straight victories in Brazil, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These races were not without their controversy, Hamilton colliding with Verstappen in Jeddah to name one, but all culminated in the rivals heading into the final race level in the standings, for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Verstappen took a brilliant pole position at Yas Marina but, as was the case for much of the season, would share the front row with Hamilton. In another provocative contest, no action was deemed necessary when Hamilton cut Turn 6 to avoid/stay ahead of Verstappen but Sergio Perez's heroic tactical defending helped Verstappen keep in touch with Hamilton, whose pace advantage on the day was undeniable. However, in an ending fit for this most chaotic and captivating of seasons, that all changed when the Safety Car emerged late on, allowing Verstappen to pit again and attack Hamilton on the final lap of the season, the Dutchman passing at Turn 5 to close out victory and, with it, the 2021 Drivers' title.
Overall, the Red Bull RB1B6 earned eleven wins, twelve further podiums, ten pole positions and eight fastest laps, scoring 585.5 points and winning the 2021 Drivers’ Championship.
This fine 1:8 scale model of the Red Bull Racing RB16B is as raced at the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021 by Sergio Pérez at Baku City Circuit on the 6th of June 2021. Pérez took his first victory as a Red Bull driver, surviving a late-race battle with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, after a late red flag restart brought about by a dramatic puncture that deprived Max Verstappen of an almost certain victory. After a frenzied qualifying session that saw the red flag waved four times across the three periods, a joint record, the team lined up with Verstappen third and Pérez in seventh. A fantastic start by Pérez saw him quickly pass Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly into P4. Over the following laps, Hamilton, Verstappen and Pérez all overtook the polesitter Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari, before the first round of pit stops began. A swift pit stop saw Verstappen pass Hamilton, whilst Pérez posted in the fastest lap of the race so far and, despite suffering a slow four second pit stop, still emerged ahead of the Mercedes in P2. The race then settled and, for the next 15 laps at least, Verstappen steadily built up a small gap in the lead whilst Pérez maintained his distance ahead of Hamilton. On lap 30 though, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll suffered a rear left puncture, catapulting his car into the wall and necessitating a safety car period. The restart went smoothly for the Red Bulls, though Hamilton remained on their tails. The team was five laps from its first 1-2 victory since 2016 until, on lap 46, lightning struck twice. Verstappen’s rear left tyre failed and his car was pitched into the wall, scattering pieces of debris across the track. The race was quickly red flagged. After a thirty-five-minute delay, the race resumed from a standing start. At the restart, Hamilton made the best start from P2 but in his eagerness, locked up his tyres on the approach to the first corner and slid down the escape road. Pérez would finally seal his maiden Red Bull victory two laps later.
This model has been handcrafted and finished in our workshops with the co-operation and assistance of Red Bull Racing Honda regarding original CAD data, finishes and paint codes. Furthermore, it has undergone detailed scrutiny by both engineering and design teams to ensure complete accuracy of representation.
This model is one in our Red Bull Racing Honda RB16B Collection.
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