Red Bull Racing prepared for this year by launching its new car, the RB13, with the quirky tagline “unlucky for some” – ahead of an expected tilt at the world championship, its first since 2013.
SOUNDBITE (English) CHRISTIAN HORNER,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, RED BULL RACING:
“The proportions look right. It looks mean, it looks fast. It's that old adage if it looks right it tends to go alright. And this car for sure looks right.”
But its campaign fell apart almost as it began, the car woefully off the pace from the opening round in Melbourne.
“In Australia we were 1.8 seconds behind, China it was 1.3 seconds and in Bahrain something in the range of nine-tenths,” said Red Bull motorsport consultant Doctor Helmut Marko.
It took until the end of June to solve the windtunnel correlation issues that were to blame, but by then reliability was a far greater concern – 13 DNFs from 20 races costing it momentum in the season’s second half.
Max Verstappen had seven retirements from the first 14 races, but he won two of the last six. Daniel Ricciardo took five-straight podiums – including a Baku win, before three DNFs from the last four events.
SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“The high, of course, was Baku. I think even if I didn’t win, even if I was third, it still would have probably been the coolest race of the year ‘cos it was crazy.”
But while Red Bull Racing took three wins this year – Verstappen storming in Malaysia and Mexico, this season was nothing short of a disappointment as the second year it’s tried and failed to match the Silver Arrows.
The squad has vowed to end its slow season starts, launching its new car five days earlier next year in a bid to sort its issues sooner.
But now it must bring the performance, and all the ingredients are there.
Its chief technical officer Adrian Newey is F1’s greatest-ever designer with 10 world championship winning cars to his name.
…while Ricciardo is fired-up to even the score against a freshly re-signed Verstappen.
There’s plenty on the line as the squad heads into 2018.