Formula 1 mid-season review: Red Bull

Formula 1 mid-season review: Red Bull

5 August 2014 – As the Formula 1 fraternity enjoys the summer break, GPUpdate.net takes the opportunity to analyse team and driver performances over the first 11 rounds of the 2014 season. In the next instalment, we look at reigning World Champions Red Bull plus how Daniel Ricciardo has coped alongside Sebastian Vettel.

Red Bull: 7.5/10

Amid changing Formula 1 regulations, one would expect Red Bull to remain in contention. The team has a sizeable budget, a composed leader in Christian Horner, the grid's most sought-after designer in Adrian Newey and two rapid peddlers in the form of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. The 2014 overhaul, however, revolved around engines, a stumbling block given that it does not have a full factory deal in place and it gets its power units sent over the channel from Renault. As the primary client, some have argued that Red Bull did not do enough to ensure that the French brand's project was on track, but the design and manufacture of the product is ultimately out of its hands. And although this area has caused problems, which are reducing on a race-by-race basis, the squad has again excelled in others to take two victories and a further five podium finishes from the opening 12 rounds of the season. This means it is the closest to Mercedes heading into the summer break, even if fifth straight titles appear out of the question due to a 174-point deficit in the Constructors' standings and a 71-point shortfall in the Drivers' battle with Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo: 9.5/10

Ricciardo has proven his doubters wrong since stepping up to Red Bull's senior team. After being painfully stripped of a dream start on home soil – when stewards disqualified him from second over a fuel breach – and losing another podium shot at the following Malaysian round when the team released him from the pits with a loose left-front wheel, questions came thick and fast as to how he would deal with the situation. But he kept his chin up and responded in the perfect manner. Two fourth place finishes in Bahrain and China were followed by overdue podiums in Spain and Monaco, before he took the elusive next step with a rampant Canadian Grand Prix win. And his form has not dropped, with another top three coming in Britain and a second victory in Hungary. It's the perfect way to enter the summer break and fully vindicates Red Bull's gamble to pick him as Mark Webber's replacement. Like his compatriot, he is fast-becoming one of the most likeable characters in the paddock. But rival drivers must not be fooled by his charming exterior. In the words of former World Champion Alan Jones, Ricciardo "grows horns" when it matters. There's a reason he stuck a Honey Badger, regarded as one of the world's most fearless animals, on the back of his helmet…

Sebastian Vettel: 7/10

Vettel was expected to drive Red Bull forward whatever the scenario this season, having enjoyed a four-year run as the best in the business. But he has so far been overshadowed by new team-mate Ricciardo. Let's make it clear. Vettel did not forget how to drive a Formula 1 car over the winter. Nor did the birth of his first child add tenths of a second to his name. He is simply struggling to adapt to a vastly different Red Bull that, in previous years, was planted through the corners and reacted, without issue, to his every demand. Whilst Vettel is having to step back from a supreme package, Ricciardo has arrived after half a term at the now defunct HRT and two seasons at Toro Rosso, driving significantly inferior machinery. During the first six races of 2014 that both drivers finished (Bahrain, China, Spain, Canada and Britain), Vettel was beaten by the Australian. And he would arguably have lost out at his home race in Germany, the first time he took the chequered flag as the lead Red Bull, had it not been for Ricciardo having to dodge Felipe Massa's flying Williams at the first corner. But crucially, when wet conditions levelled the playing field during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel was the fastest non-Mercedes driver and two tenths up on Ricciardo. The opening Safety Car period and a subsequent spin scuppered his chances of victory, but the weekend proved that he has the pace when an ill-handling car is less obstructive. It is clear, however, that Vettel needs to step up to the plate over the final eight races. The talent is still there, but he needs to prove that it exists when things aren't going his way. All great drivers have done so.

Do you agree with GPUpdate.net's ratings? Join in the discussion via the Facebook panel below

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 22 September 2014

  2. Red Bull not yet considering team orders 11:11

    Red Bull not yet considering team orders

    Red Bull says it is not yet considering team orders, despite Daniel Ricciardo keeping himself within touching distance of...

    F1
  3. Video: 360-degree onboard with Buemi in Assen 10:18

    Video: 360-degree onboard with Buemi in Assen

    Sébastien Buemi put a Red Bull Formula 1 car through its paces in front of 82,000 spectators last month, as part of the...

    F1
  4. Caterham encouraged despite Kobayashi non-start 10:16

    Caterham encouraged despite Kobayashi non-start

    Caterham Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto says he is encouraged by the outfit's performance in the Singapore Grand Prix, even...

    F1
  5. Gutiérrez: Almost impossible to achieve good results 09:40

    Gutiérrez: Almost impossible to achieve good results

    Esteban Gutiérrez says it is almost impossible for Sauber to achieve good results after the Mexican slumped to his sixth...

    F1
  6. Video: Rosberg reflects on Singapore retirement 09:35

    Video: Rosberg reflects on Singapore retirement

    Nico Rosberg looks back on his short-lived Singapore Grand Prix; after starting from the pit lane and retiring amid...

    F1
  7. Wolff admits Mercedes needs better reliability 08:58

    Wolff admits Mercedes needs better reliability

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the squad needs to improve its reliability as the championship fight enters its...

    F1
  8. Mattiacci upbeat over Ferrari progress in Singapore 07:34

    Mattiacci upbeat over Ferrari progress in Singapore

    Ferrari Team Principal Marco Mattiacci says he is confident that his squad is improving following its showing in the...

    F1
  9. Video of the Day: UPS delivers special Ferrari 05:03

    Video of the Day: UPS delivers special Ferrari

    UPS delivered a special F1 car, made of bark and fittonia, to Singapore. Representing Ferrari's partnership with the...

    F1
  10. 03:04

    Championship standings after Singapore

    F1
  11. Sunday 21 September 2014

  12. Alonso rues timing of Safety Car deployment 18:54

    Alonso rues timing of Safety Car deployment

    Fernando Alonso was left to rue the timing of the Safety Car as he raced to fourth position in the Singapore Grand...

    F1
  13. Bottas links late slump to power steering 17:53

    Bottas links late slump to power steering

    Valtteri Bottas says an issue with his power steering system contributed to his tumble down the order in the Singapore Grand...

    F1
  14. 17:45

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday in Singapore

    F1
  15. Force India reclaims fifth from McLaren 17:31

    Force India reclaims fifth from McLaren

    Force India boss Vijay Mallya was suitably elated after his team moved ahead of McLaren in the battle for fifth in the...

    F1
  16. Magnussen treated for burns after scoring point 17:05

    Magnussen treated for burns after scoring point

    Kevin Magnussen was treated for burns by doctors after the McLaren driver battled to 10th place at the Singapore Grand...

    F1
  17. Vergne fights back to earn best result of season 17:05

    Vergne fights back to earn best result of season

    Outgoing Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne recorded his best finish in over a year as he battled to sixth in the Singapore...

    F1
  18. Vettel questions timing of Hamilton move 16:35

    Vettel questions timing of Hamilton move

    Sebastian Vettel reckons Lewis Hamilton took more risks than he needed to when passing him during Sunday's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  19. Hamilton hails 'clean' Singapore weekend 16:13

    Hamilton hails 'clean' Singapore weekend

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was pleased after a "clean" Singapore Grand Prix weekend culminated in him taking a vital...

    F1
  20. Rosberg urges Mercedes to improve reliability 15:51

    Rosberg urges Mercedes to improve reliability

    Nico Rosberg has urged Mercedes to improve its reliability after his costly retirement from Sunday night's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  21. 15:27

    In full: Singapore Grand Prix race result

    F1
  22. Hamilton takes title lead with Singapore win 15:10

    Hamilton takes title lead with Singapore win

    Lewis Hamilton moved into the lead of the championship with a commanding victory in Sunday night's Singapore Grand Prix,...

    F1
  23. 12:35

    Follow the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix live!

    F1
  24. Video: Hill, Herbert become mechanics 10:44

    Video: Hill, Herbert become mechanics

    Watch as Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert become Marussia mechanics for a practice session in Singapore.

    F1
  25. 10:42

    Photos: Historic F1 race in Singapore

    F1
  26. Hamilton: Rosberg relations 'back to normal' 10:41

    Hamilton: Rosberg relations 'back to normal'

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says that his relationship with team-mate Nico Rosberg is 'back to normal' following the...

    F1
  27. Grosjean hits out at Renault problems 07:02

    Grosjean hits out at Renault problems

    Romain Grosjean has hit out at continual Renault problems, which he says are having a negative impact on the morale of his...

    F1
  28. 06:32

    Photos: Special helmets for Singapore

    F1
  29. Video of the Day: Formula 1's Safety Car 05:03

    Video of the Day: Formula 1's Safety Car

    There has never been a Singapore Grand Prix without the appearance of Formula 1's Safety Car. Ahead of the night race,...

    F1
  30. Pérez sure of Force India race recovery 01:04

    Pérez sure of Force India race recovery

    Force India driver Sergio Pérez says he is sure that he can recover from a lowly grid spot and notch up a top 10 finish in...

    F1
  31. 00:35

    Starting grid for the Singapore Grand Prix

    F1
  32. Saturday 20 September 2014

  33. Massa encouraged by Williams improvements 18:32

    Massa encouraged by Williams improvements

    Felipe Massa says he is encouraged by the progress which Williams has made since Friday's practice sessions after qualifying...

    F1
  34. 17:25

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday in Singapore

    F1
  35. Magnussen seeks help from Safety Car 17:24

    Magnussen seeks help from Safety Car

    Kevin Magnussen says he is hoping to see the Safety Car called into action during Sunday evening's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  36. Alonso hopeful of fighting for victory 17:09

    Alonso hopeful of fighting for victory

    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is hopeful that he will be able to challenge for victory during Sunday's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  37. Vettel reckons pole position was possible 16:42

    Vettel reckons pole position was possible

    Sebastian Vettel feels he could have had a shot at claiming pole position in Singapore with a cleaner final qualifying...

    F1
  38. Rosberg ruing late change of brakes 16:16

    Rosberg ruing late change of brakes

    Nico Rosberg was left to rue a change of brakes after Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton beat him to pole position in...

    F1
  39. Hamilton pleased to recover from early error 15:57

    Hamilton pleased to recover from early error

    Lewis Hamilton says he was pleased with his recovery after an early error threatened to ruin his final qualifying attempt in...

    F1
  40. 15:08

    Singapore GP: Qualifying results in full

    F1
  41. Hamilton pips Rosberg to Singapore pole 15:07

    Hamilton pips Rosberg to Singapore pole

    Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to pole position during a tight qualifying session in Singapore, with...

    F1
  42. 13:52

    Follow qualifying for the Singapore GP!

    F1
  43. 12:16

    Singapore GP: Full Free Practice 3 results

    F1
more news