FPV drone following the RB20 with Max Verstappen

Commissioned by
Red Bull Media House

Max Verstappen
David Coulthard
Liam Lawson

Media production by
Red Bull Media House
Cut Media


Ralph Hogenbirk

Thomas de Koster

Engineer / Drone Tech
Bas van T Hul

Relay Drone
Rene Sebastian

World's first: following an F1 car for a full lap with an FPV drone

In early 2023, Red Bull presented us with a seemingly impossible challenge at the time: could we track an F1 car at full speed for an entire lap? Until then, FPV drones could reach speeds of around 180km/h for brief moments. Despite some drones pushing 350km/h for a few seconds, sustaining such speed throughout the average 1 minute and 30 seconds of an F1 lap seemed daunting.

We started the project with drone consultancy from fast drones legend "Quadmovr". From there the team had some really good starting points. Nearly 8 months of dedicated engineering and extensive testing went into the project. We worked tirelessly to solve the puzzle of finding the perfect balance in electronics, canopy designs, weight, speed, flight length, and distance. After numerous successful runs at our testing field, our first major challenge awaited: to trail the RB19 at Silverstone with Liam Lawson behind the wheel.

In early September 2023, the moment finally arrived. In the very first lap, we successfully tracked the RB19 along the track, completing the entire lap at full speed, reaching 310 km/h on Wellington Straight and the Hanger Straight. This groundbreaking achievement marked our first successful lap following an F1 car. And while the run was a success, it provided us with valuable data points for further refinement. Areas such as steering, braking, and camera angle control are among the aspects we're continuously improving based on this experience.

Red Bull Drone 1 at Red Bull Advanced Technologies

Photos by Dutch Drone Gods / Rene Sebastian

Bas van T Hul with the Red Bull Drone 1 at Red Bull Advanced Technologies

Working on the "Red Bull Drone 1" with Red Bull Advanced Technologies

After our first successful run with the RB19 at Silverstone, we collaborated with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT) to address areas for improvement. Leveraging RBAT's wealth of information, we successfully tackled all the critical points that required attention before conducting another test.

Upon completing the design changes and upgrades, RBAT assisted in manufacturing the structural components. Handling the production of glass fiber canopies, internal structures, and carbon arms. For a polished look, they expertly spray-painted the canopy and airfoils, adding a custom decal as the finishing touch.

Chasing the RB20 with Max Verstappen on Silverstone

Mid-February 2024, the awaited day arrived to put our completed prototype to the ultimate test: a race against Max Verstappen in the brand-new RB20. Despite unfavorable weather conditions, including rain and high windspeeds, we successfully navigated a full lap behind the F1 car. The challenging conditions posed a tougher test compared to our previous run in September.

We express deep gratitude to Red Bull for entrusting us with this groundbreaking project, making the impossible a reality. Special thanks to Red Bull Advanced Technologies for their invaluable support in every step of our product development journey.

Max Verstappen with the RB Drone 1
Red Drone 1 following th RB20 with Max Verstappen

Photos by Red Bull Content Pool / Joerg Mitter / Limex

Dutch Drone Gods Team for the RB Drone 1
Red Drone 1 following th RB20 with Max Verstappen

The end of phase 1, the start of...

In the wake of overcoming technological barriers and pushing the limits of drone capabilities, our journey continues. As we reflect on this milestone, we recognize that this achievement is just the beginning. An opening chapter to limitless possibilities. This drone isn't just a game-changer; it's a statement that the impossible is possible.

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