[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] RED BULL RACING: QUIET CONFIDENCE

Red Bull Racing could be F1 2019’s dark horse, with its Honda power unit proving to be not only powerful but reliable.

The squad got its latest campaign underway with a shakedown test at the Silverstone Circuit, the RB15 featuring a special one-off livery just as the team did in 2018, with an update on the “disruption” theme.

… all aimed at getting the car out sooner, to check its systems are working and shake out any major issues before testing.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHRISTIAN HORNER,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, RED BULL RACING:
“It’s always great to see a new car take its first run. And RB15, it’s our first car with a Honda engine. It looks resplendent in its livery, just the one off for today. Always exciting to see a new car born.”

Across pre-season testing, Pierre Gasly and teammate Max Verstappen set the 11th and 17th fastest time respectively, proving that the squad is waiting until Melbourne to properly show its hand.

… where it’s expected to be the third fastest team.

And while the potential is there for the Honda partnership, with the ultimate goal F1 domination, the team is still playing down being able to win races straight out of the blocks.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“Yeah, so with the new partner, with Honda, yeah we are expecting a lot. We are all very positive, but I think it also needs to take a little bit of time. It can not be like from race one it can be perfect.”

Importantly, at this stage - it seems that lessons have been learned from its adversarial, often explosive, former partnership with Renault in trying to keep criticism behind closed doors.

… along with a more mature approach from Verstappen.

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“For sure, there will be moments where, as a team, we’ll make [some] mistakes, or it’s maybe not going as we wanted to. But I think what is very important is that the team and Honda, we are pushing [together] really hard to improve the development.”

Part of that shift in mentality has been learned from sister team Toro Rosso, which began working with Honda last year; with Gasly getting experience, and perhaps even an advantage before that in Super Formula.

… when he gained insight into the Japanese mindset.

SOUNDBITE (English) PIERRE GASLY,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“I went to Japan a lot, [and] spent time in the country to learn the culture, to learn the way they communicate, they way they work. And it’s really different than what we have in Europe. So, you really need to adapt yourself to the culture, and understand how things work there, if you want to extract the best of the people. And for sure, this helped me at Toro Rosso as well.”

It’s a factor that will no doubt assist the Frenchman at Red Bull’s top team, and in a high pressure situation against new teammate Verstappen.

…with both partial to red mist aggression on-track, despite neither of them wanting to replicate Azerbaijan 2018.

And while it’s all very friendly right now; ask Verstappen whether he’d like to play FIFA, his favourite football video game, with Gasly - and it reveals the mental warfare he’s prepared to unleash. 

SOUNDBITE (English) MAX VERSTAPPEN,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“Yeah, I’m fine with playing against Pierre. He’s very easy to wind up on FIFA, so if I get him into that state, I’ll win.”

It’s a fascinating insight into the battle ahead for Red Bull’s two top guns as they attempt to take the energy drinks giant to the next level.