Red Bull to resume dominance in the new F1 season?
In the lead up to the new Formula one season, all eyes are on the Red Bull Racing team who emerged convincing winners in the Constructors’ Championship last season. Sebastian Vettel becoming the youngest ever winner of the F1 Drivers’ Crown rounded off a perfect season for the Austrian unit. It is no surprise hence that they will be the team to beat this time around as well. Let’s take a closer look at what I feel is at the moment, the strongest team on the F1 circuit.
Red Bull has constantly produced a car of amazing pace over the last few years. This year’s car, the RB7 will continue the winning design of its two predecessors, the RB6 which won both the titles last year and the RB5 which made waves as the fastest car at the end of 2009 and might have succeeded immensely had it not been for the double diffuser ruling which curbed its potency. We are well aware of the scorching speed of the 2010 double title winning RB6. Aerodynamics has always been the strength of the Red Bull package and this year should be no different. Red Bull have been topping the charts during testing with the car looking strong.
Reliability will be the biggest concern with Sebastien Vettel being forced to retire in a few races from commanding positions due to car trouble last year. This cost the team a large number of points, but it didn’t matter in the end as they romped home. But the camp will make sure to set reliability issues right and not give room for over-confidence. Testing was started early this season, so one hopes they have figured out how to improve their early season unreliability. In short, this year’s RB7 should be a beast strong enough to defend last year’s titles.
The team is relatively inexperienced with young technicians and mechanics when you compare them to the strong old warhorses Ferrari and Mclaren. Despite that, they showed great team strength and their strategies adopted at crucial moments in the championship especially Mark Webber‘s strategy in Hungary and Vettel strategy in turkey were quite the masterclass. Technical Director Adrian Newey has really made the car a very competitive one and if things go according to plan they will continue to dominate this season too. With the possibility of three pit stop and four pit stop races this season, the strength of each team and their personnel will be a big deciding factor on the performance of the team in the championship. Red Bull look fit and ready and should perform to expectations after a quite sublime season.
In terms of form and capability, Red Bull have the strongest drivers on paper. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are both capable of constantly burning up the tarmac with scorching pace. Between them, they held 15 pole positions in 2010 with Vettel having an uncanny knack of unlocking speed to get to pole on 10 occasions in 2010. Without car failure, Vettel and Webber would have converted the majority of those poles into wins. The one thing which could be a worry for the team would be the relationship between Webber and Vettel. There has been no love lost between the two on their friendly rivalry. Whether it be the overtaking incident in Turkey or the wing-change incident in Silverstone and the subsequent accident in the race, there were definite issues amongst the drivers and the team could have done a lot better had the drivers not locked horns too often. The bad air has been said to be cleared before the beginning of the season, but only time will tell.
On an individual note, Vettel looks prime to take another championship. He looks fast and hungry for more and the experience of a tight championship battle would have given him loads of confidence. He also has youth on his side and will definitely be challenged by his teammate who will push him harder than all his competitors. Well, if Red Bull have a very reliable car this season, we could see a one-sided season with a Red Bull vs Red Bull competing for the driver’s crown. Webber’s ability is the only concern as age might be catching up with the Australian veteran. Yet, being the old warhorse, his experience and guile should keep him in good stead for the championship.
With the re-introduction of the KERS system, the introduction of Pirelli tires and adjustable rear wings to assist in overtaking, it looks like it will be a very interesting season with lots of drama and plenty of action. Red Bull’s season will be completely dependent on consistency. Their car looks fast and sleek, the drivers fit and able. I predict another constructors’ championship for Red Bull and Vettel looking good for the driver’s crown and Webber definitely coming in the top 4.