[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] RED BULL RACING: FUTURE FIRMED

Red Bull Racing flies into the Hungarian capital of Budapest with relaxed confidence – the team not only in contention for the win, but with its short-to-medium term plans almost finalised.

Its power unit for 2019 and 2020 is sorted, with Honda set to become the squad’s fourth engine supplier after Cosworth, Ferrari, and Renault. And Red Bull positive it won’t see a repeat of McLaren’s nightmare… 

SOUNDBITE (English) CHRISTIAN HORNER,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, RED BULL RACING:
“The power unit is a vital element within a Formula 1 car and we’re confident that Honda have the right infrastructure, the right resources, the right technical capacity and determination to help us in our quest to reduce the gap to the teams ahead of us in Ferrari and Mercedes.”

On the chassis side, Red Bull is already well underway on designing the 2019 car – given the aero changes for next year, including a simplified front wing and brake duct, and wider and deeper rear wing.

… along with important packaging and cooling options for the new Honda power unit, vital for reliable running with room to develop.

All of which can play into the team’s hands – especially with the front wing so vital in generating downforce, and directing airflow rearwards.

SOUNDBITE (English) PAUL MONAGHAN,
CHIEF ENGINEER, RED BULL RACING:
“A regulation change is always going to have some excitement about it. It’s a chance for the order to reshuffle. Will we be first? Will we not be first? Who’s around us? Where are we?”

Onto the drivers, and Max Verstappen is locked-in until the end of 2020.

… with the Dutchman back on form after a rocky season start; his Austrian win the first for the brand on home soil in front of thousands of Dutch fans.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“[It was] Amazing support and great motivation for me as well. Of course, [I’m] happy then to be on the podium and of course to win the race made it even better.”

Verstappen is a happily ensconced member of the squad with razor-sharp moves on-track as well as in the the digital world, whether playing F1’s official game or his favourite pastime, FIFA.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“If I wasn’t a Formula 1 driver, I would be gaming here all day trying to become a professional player.”

For Daniel Ricciardo, a new deal to take him through into 2019 and beyond is said to be close, with Ferrari and Mercedes only promoting their young guns once a seat becomes available.

Regardless, the Australian is a great catch for Red Bull Racing – not only as one of F1’s best overtakers but a good match for Verstappen, with the pair pushing the team forward.

The focus is now on to maximise the season’s second half, with events like Hungary, Singapore and Mexico all likely to suit the Renault-driven RB14, which still has a horsepower deficit to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes.

But it can’t afford engine problems like Ricciardo had in Germany, his second DNF in three races – and reliability issues dominating its campaign last year.

Then, Verstappen had seven retirements from the first 14 races, but he took wins at two of the last six. While Ricciardo secured five-straight podiums – including a win in Azerbaijan, before three DNFs from the last four events.

Red Bull’s future with Honda may now be looming large as the team seeks to eat into its rival’s pace – but still expects a strong end to its 2018 season, and Renault’s help will be crucial with 10 races left.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHRISTIAN HORNER,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, RED BULL RACING:
“There’s a long way to go. So we’re going to be pushing all the way to the finish - and going to be relying on support from Renault until the end of the year, which I am sure they will give unwaveringly - as they have done during our previous 11 seasons.”