[F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] RED BULL RACING: DREAM SEASON START?

Red Bull Racing is set for its strongest season start in the turbo-hybrid era, Daniel Ricciardo finishing pre-season testing fourth fastest, and the squad completing 783 laps – 99 more than last year’s total.

And it’s a scenario the team dreamed about going into the new year.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“Hopefully it’s just a good step forward. And that we’ve got straight away a good car from the beginning of the year, that we are not really chasing like we did last year.”

The former four-time F1 world champions have made a concerted effort to avoid another slow season start this year, revealing its new car - the RB14 with an interim livery – five days earlier than normal.

… before shaking the car down at a cold and wet Silverstone, in England, for a positive first impression, despite Ricciardo hitting the barriers.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“It didn’t do anything that scared me, I guess, or did anything weird - which I was not expecting. But in these conditions we’ve got filming tyres on it, and it’s cold, it’s wet. So it’s not very representative, but the good thing is - in pretty poor conditions, it felt ok.”

And a good baseline is what the squad desperately needs, with Ricciardo and his highly rated teammate, Max Verstappen, having to make the best of a windtunnel correlation issue and dire reliability last year.
Ricciardo stormed to victory with the pass of the year in Azerbaijan… the race dominating his top-three highlights of the season.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“Three highlights would be: Baku, Baku and Baku. Baku was certainly one. Obviously, the race, the win, that was a real standout for me in the year.”

… while Verstappen again demonstrated he is a future world champion – with two wins and some aggressive fightback drives.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“The victory in Malaysia, the first one. Then the second one was I think the race in Austin. I really enjoyed coming from the back, and really fight your way through and actually the whole race I was like pushing flat-out to get back in the race. And fight for the podium. And then the third one, I guess, is Mexico.”

With Red Bull’s new car set to start the season strongly, it could be game on in Melbourne with a three way fight at the front.