Column: Red Bull's year to fly?

20-02-2019 16:54 | Updated: 20-02-2019 17:38
by Bobby Vincent
General
Column: Red Bull's year to fly?

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing - more simply known as Red Bull. The energy drink, whose slogan is about wings that are grown after taking a sip of Red Bull. For the upcoming season, the whole team in Milton Keynes may need a few gallons of Red Bull.

2010-13 marked a truly dominant spell for Red Bull in Formula 1. A young and brave Sebastian Vettel and a more experienced Mark Webber clinched the team's first ever constructors' championship - as well as the former winning the first of his four drivers' titles.

But since Vettel's last championship win in 2013, it also saw the end of one of F1's most dominant stages. However, since then, the dominance hasn't stopped; it's just transferred over to Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows have won the last five constructors', ever since the introduction to the turbo hybrid era in Formula 1. In 2014, the FIA changed the engines from 2.4-litre V8 ones to 1.6-litre turbo engines. Ever since, the German side have completely controlled the competition.

 

The Drivers

Nowadays, Red Bull are behind Ferrari as well as Mercedes - with their former world champion Vettel leading the way at Scuderia. This season, that starts in under a month now, sparks a real huge one for Red Bull.

A new driver line-up with Pierre Gasly replacing Daniel Ricciardo, and Max Verstappen staying at the Milton Keynes-based team. Verstappen, who was arguably the best driver on the grid in the latter stages of last season, has been tipped by many to be right up there in terms of title contentions in 2019.

It's a huge season for the 21-year-old Dutchman, whose wins in Austria and especially Mexico were very impressive in 2018. Red Bull have to give everything to Verstappen for the upcoming season. Take a leaf out of Mercedes' book - with what they offer five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton compared to his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

With all respects to Gasly; it looks as if Verstappen is on another level to the Frenchman. He was with Ricciardo - and the favouritism towards the Dutchman effectively triggered the Aussie's exit to Renault. Verstappen has all the talent in the world - perhaps the most naturally talented driver on the grid. Couple that with a strong power unit, well...

Red Bull & Honda

Last season saw the end of Red Bull and Renault's relationship. Too many reliability issues meant that Red Bull switched to Honda for the upcoming season. It's been well-documented what a risk the team are taking by teaming up with the Japanese manufacturer. But it hasn't been said anywhere near enough the rewards that could equate.

If successful, and I realise that may be a big 'if', this Red Bull side will be near unstoppable. Over the seasons, Red Bull have been notoriously strong on street tracks such as Monaco and Singapore, due to teams not being so reliant on power at the twisty circuits.

Red Bull's chassis has generally been an impressive one and the power gap between the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes doesn't impact their track position too much. With a strong chassis, and Honda pulling through with its promises - we could have a really, really exciting RB15 come the 17th March (Australian Grand Prix).

 

Prediction

It's extremely difficult to predict exactly how Honda and Red Bull will perform this season. The chances are, it may take Honda a while to fit the team's standards and needs, but with patience and the right individual performances, it could be Red Bull Racing's season.

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