After test-driving two carbon fiber Pelagos FXD “Alinghi Red Bull Racing Editions” in October, we painted a picture in which Tudor was a sponsor of a Formula 1 team. You said we were nuts. Rolex was already too heavily involved, and Tudor would stick to surfers, sailors, and cyclists. But what do you know? In February 2024, with the new F1 season approaching quickly, the Red Bull-owned Visa Cash App RB Formula One Team presentation revealed that Tudor is an official sponsor/partner. And on Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo’s wrist was what looked like a new Tudor Black Bay in a black case with a striking Visa blue dial. It raised so many questions. Like: is the case in ceramic or carbon fiber? And, will it also become available for mere mortals?

Well, when it comes to the watch on “Danny Ricci’s” wrist, we’re happy to be no longer speculating, having received confirmation from Tudor on precisely what it is we’re looking at. It has now been confirmed to be a team Visa CashApp RB blue-dialed version of the 2021 Black Bay Ceramic, the first Tudor that received a METAS certification.

For a split second, we hoped it would be a successor to last year’s FXD, featuring a carbon case. Almost everything in F1 is made of the lightweight material—one that’s also strong enough to stop a speeding race car. Even the brake disks of Formula 1 cars are made of a composite material reinforced with carbon fiber, for instance. So, it would make a lot of sense if a Black Bay for a Formula 1 team would have a case in carbon fiber. The hybrid leather and rubber strap with Visa blue stitching in the pictures could also use a high-tech upgrade.

New Tudor Black Bay

Tudor is in Formula 1, and Daniel Ricciardo is wearing a new Black Bay

Alas, it will be a METAS-certified Black Bay Ceramic that will grace the wrists of both Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda. It will likely not be one they’ll wear while driving, so there won’t be any weight-saving concerns there. But both the drivers will likely be happy to re-gain those 106g on their wrists before each public appearance and (hopefully) podium ceremonies. But what about availability? These watches may well remain a team-only affair. Much like the watch exclusive to the Tudor Pro Cycling Team: the Black Bay Chrono Dark—also a watch with a black ceramic case.

Returning to the matter of ceramic versus carbon, so far, Tudor has only used carbon for the two Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing models introduced last year. Ceramic has remained exclusive to the vintage-inspired Black Bay. But there’s a first for everything. And with the two FXD watches becoming available to the public after an initial team-only Black Bay Ceramic was given to the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team’s sailors, it’s hard to imagine that a deal with a Formula 1 team doesn’t lead to a product that’s available for the millions of fans of the sport. But going with the Black Bay ceramic was ultimately the brand’s choice. We understand that this is due to it being its most tech-forward watch, therefore one that resonates with the advanced engineering native to the world of Formula 1.

Ceramic or carbon fiber? What do you prefer?

This is a matter of personal preference, and now you know where I stand. But what do you think? Do you like the sponsor blue dial? How do you feel about the black ceramic as Tudor’s choice of case? Were you also hoping for lightweight carbon fiber? What about that strap? And would you like to see this become available?

Allow me to answer my own questions first. The blue dial, in combination with the black case and strap, is a bit harsh. I guess that’s the problem you’re faced with when limited to the color codes of the team sponsors. Another bone I have to pick with the watch is its hybrid leather/rubber strap. I had hoped the strap would be entirely up to F1 spec. I’d suggest going with one made of the fireproof fabric also used for racing overalls. Now that would be the full package! But as I said before, perhaps we’ll see a re-imagined version of this team watch available with some of these points taken into consideration. Who knows? Even wilder predictions can clearly come true.

Images courtesy of Will Cornelius via Red Bull Content Pool.