It’s a year of change for Red Bull, with Daniel Ricciardo having upped sticks and gone to Renault – the Australian replaced by the promising Pierre Gasly – while Honda will power Red Bull cars for the first time. A recipe for success? We look at the best and worst case scenarios for the four-time constructors’ champions.
Best Case Scenario
Considering the way Red Bull dominated F1 between 2010 and 2013, almost anything that doesn’t involve them winning both championships tends to be seen as ‘worst case’ by the team’s owners.
In the real world, however, ‘best case’ for Red Bull remains where they’ve been for the last five hybrid-powered seasons: having a car capable of mixing it at the front of the field, and which can go to every race with a chance of winning on merit.
Based on their testing performance, it’s difficult to judge if they’re there. They lost a great deal of track time after a couple of mishaps, and never really got to push in the last couple of days when everyone else was busy throwing the proverbial kitchen sink into their performance runs.
The raw stats say Red Bull’s testing tally of 833 laps was the eighth best of 10, while their best time was seventh quickest, eight-tenths off the ultimate pace. BUT they set that time on the C3 compound, whereas everyone else set theirs on the faster C5 rubber. Also, Red Bull appeared to have more upgrades ready to put on the car but never got around to trying them. There’s clearly some as-yet untapped performance in the RB15.
F1 Fantasy: Get in the game for 2019
There’s no doubt RBR would have liked to have continued with the partnership of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, and doubtless the Australian’s departure was a blow for the team. Pierre Gasly, the young Frenchman who replaces him, is clearly rapid – but Ricciardo is a race winner and an accomplished stealer of podiums.