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. Sunday 25 June 2017

  2. Castroneves wins 50th career pole 01:45

    Castroneves wins 50th career pole

    Hélio Castroneves captured the 50th pole of his long IndyCar career on Saturday in qualifying at Road America. The Brazilian…

    Indy
  3. Saturday 24 June 2017

  4. Video: Bizarre WTCC crash into fire truck 17:44

    Video: Bizarre WTCC crash into fire truck

    Tom Coronel crashes into a fire truck at the Portuguese round of the World Touring Car Championship.

    Misc
  5. Rowland demoted to seventh after penalty 17:06

    Rowland demoted to seventh after penalty

    DAMS driver Oliver Rowland has been handed a time penalty after he failed to slow sufficiently for yellow flags during the…

    F2
  6. 17:02

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Saturday in Baku

    F1
  7. Stroll: Set-up key to improved Baku display 16:50

    Stroll: Set-up key to improved Baku display

    Williams rookie Lance Stroll says that reverting to an older set-up is one of the main reasons behind his so far confident…

    F1
  8. Alonso: Rivals think we're on slow-down laps 16:49

    Alonso: Rivals think we're on slow-down laps

    Fernando Alonso believes McLaren-Honda's speed deficit is so pronounced that his rivals think he is on a slow lap when he is…

    F1
  9. Verstappen: P3 possible without problems 16:03

    Verstappen: P3 possible without problems

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen reckons technical glitches cost him third on the grid for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, describing a…

    F1
  10. Vettel: 'No excuses' over worst 2017 Q3 15:51

    Vettel: 'No excuses' over worst 2017 Q3

    Championship leader Sebastian Vettel accepts there are "no excuses" over his worst qualifying result of the campaign, though…

    F1
  11. Hamilton: Last gasp effort 'all or nothing' 15:32

    Hamilton: Last gasp effort 'all or nothing'

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton described his pole position lap as an "all or nothing" effort as he overhauled team-mate Valtteri…

    F1
  12. 15:15

    In full: Azerbaijan GP qualifying results

    F1
  13. Hamilton beats Bottas to Azerbaijan pole 15:14

    Hamilton beats Bottas to Azerbaijan pole

    Lewis Hamilton delivered another stunning qualifying performance to claim pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, ahead of…

    F1
  14. 14:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Assen

    MotoGP
  15. Zarco edges Márquez for maiden pole 13:58

    Zarco edges Márquez for maiden pole

    Tech 3 rookie Johann Zarco claimed his maiden MotoGP pole position during a wet qualifying session for the Dutch Grand Prix at…

    MotoGP
  16. Palmer out of qualifying after practice fire 13:56

    Palmer out of qualifying after practice fire

    Jolyon Palmer has been ruled out of qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Palmer ground to a halt early in final…

    F1
  17. 13:42

    Follow qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP!

    F1
  18. 12:08

    Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  19. Bottas on top, Vettel, Verstappen hit trouble 12:04

    Bottas on top, Vettel, Verstappen hit trouble

    Valtteri Bottas set the pace during Saturday's final practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen…

    F1
  20. 11:10

    Latest Formula 2 photos: Saturday at Baku

    F2
  21. Leclerc extends lead with commanding win 11:09

    Leclerc extends lead with commanding win

    Prema' Charles Leclerc took his third win of the Formula 2 season in the Baku Feature Race to extend his championship lead to 22…

    F2
  22. Mercedes' Russell given Hungary test 10:43

    Mercedes' Russell given Hungary test

    Mercedes protégé George Russell will carry out in-season testing for the manufacturer in Hungary. Russell joined Mercedes…

    F1
  23. 10:43

    Follow final practice for the Azerbaijan GP!

    F1
  24. Alonso's grid penalty now up to 40 places 10:31

    Alonso's grid penalty now up to 40 places

    McLaren-Honda has confirmed that Fernando Alonso's grid penalty for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is now up to 40 places, after…

    F1
  25. Video: Kanaan Visor Cam at Road America 10:16

    Video: Kanaan Visor Cam at Road America

    Ride onboard with Tony Kanaan during IndyCar practice for the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America.

    Indy
  26. Redding tops wet third session at Assen 09:54

    Redding tops wet third session at Assen

    Pramac's Scott Redding clocked the quickest time during a rain-hit third practice session for the Dutch Grand Prix at…

    MotoGP
  27. Kerb shortened at Turn 8 after incidents 09:39

    Kerb shortened at Turn 8 after incidents

    Modifications have been made at and around Turn 8 of the Baku City Circuit after incidents during Friday practice for the…

    F1
  28. Renault's Baku gains worth 0.2s per lap 09:32

    Renault's Baku gains worth 0.2s per lap

    Renault's engine upgrades introduced for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix have led to a gain of 0.2s per lap, according to…

    F1
  29. Boullier: McLaren/Honda friction exaggerated 08:04

    Boullier: McLaren/Honda friction exaggerated

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says that the "friction" between the team and power unit partner Honda has been…

    F1
  30. Sauber hopes to announce new boss 'soon' 07:12

    Sauber hopes to announce new boss 'soon'

    Sauber should be in a position to announce a new Team Principal "soon", following Monisha Kaltenborn's exit, according to Team…

    F1
  31. Video of the Day: Dixon meets young fan 05:38

    Video of the Day: Dixon meets young fan

    Scott Dixon visits a young fan, called Lucy, who wrote him a letter after his accident at the Indy 500.

    Indy
  32. Friday 23 June 2017

  33. 17:32

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Friday in Baku

    F1
  34. Hamilton says he has 'lots of work to do' 17:23

    Hamilton says he has 'lots of work to do'

    Lewis Hamilton says he and Mercedes have "lots of work to do" following a difficult first day of practice for the Azerbaijan…

    F1
  35. Verstappen describes 'very weird' crash 16:56

    Verstappen describes 'very weird' crash

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has labelled his crash in the closing stages of Friday's second practice session for the…

    F1
  36. Renault rejects Kubica Italy FP1 rumours 16:31

    Renault rejects Kubica Italy FP1 rumours

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul has shot down rumours linking Robert Kubica to a Friday practice outing at September's…

    F1
  37. 16:10

    Latest Formula 2 photos: Friday in Baku

    F2
  38. Leclerc dedicates F2 pole to late father 15:58

    Leclerc dedicates F2 pole to late father

    Formula 2 championship leader Charles Leclerc dedicated his pole position for the Baku Feature Race to his father, Hervé, who…

    F2
  39. 15:36

    Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  40. Verstappen fastest in FP2 before crashing 15:34

    Verstappen fastest in FP2 before crashing

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen again set the pace during second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, before crashing out at…

    F1
  41. 14:19

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Assen

    MotoGP
  42. Viñales moves ahead in second practice 14:10

    Viñales moves ahead in second practice

    Championship leader Maverick Viñales vaulted to the top of the times during the second practice session for the Dutch Grand…

    MotoGP
  43. 13:44

    Follow second practice for the Azerbaijan GP!

    F1
more news