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. Friday 29 July 2016

  2. Video of the Day: Being a race engineer 05:22

    Video of the Day: Being a race engineer

    Former Olympic rower Tom Stallard talks about his switch to F1 to become Jenson Button's race engineer.

    F1
  3. Thursday 28 July 2016

  4. 19:02

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Hockenheim

    F1
  5. Formula 1 agrees to free up radio rules 18:45

    Formula 1 agrees to free up radio rules

    Formula 1 has agreed to relax its much-criticised radio communication restrictions from this weekend's German Grand Prix…

    F1
  6. Formula 1 votes against halo for 2017 18:02

    Formula 1 votes against halo for 2017

    Formula 1 will delay the introduction of increased head protection until the 2018 season, with it agreed at the latest meeting…

    F1
  7. Hamilton feels he is 'still behind' in standings 16:45

    Hamilton feels he is 'still behind' in standings

    Lewis Hamilton says he feels as though he is "still behind" Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the championship standings…

    F1
  8. Gutiérrez: Hamilton deserved penalty for gesture 16:17

    Gutiérrez: Hamilton deserved penalty for gesture

    Haas driver Esteban Gutiérrez reckons rival Lewis Hamilton should have been sanctioned for his "disrespectful gesture" during…

    F1
  9. Haryanto: Summer break crucial for future 14:23

    Haryanto: Summer break crucial for future

    Manor driver Rio Haryanto has stated that Formula 1's traditional summer break will be crucial if he is to complete his rookie…

    F1
  10. Sauber takeover has accelerated development 13:33

    Sauber takeover has accelerated development

    Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson says the team's takeover has enabled the squad to increase its development programme, as it bids…

    F1
  11. Formula E presents new-look 2016/17 car 12:36

    Formula E presents new-look 2016/17 car

    Organisers of the Formula E championship have presented a new-look single-spec car for the 2016/17 season. Formula E has used…

    FE
  12. Pérez: I will decide on Formula 1 future 12:19

    Pérez: I will decide on Formula 1 future

    Sergio Pérez says that it is up to himself and sponsors to decide where he will be racing next year, going against Force India…

    F1
  13. Stoneman gets IndyCar test with Andretti 11:11

    Stoneman gets IndyCar test with Andretti

    Dean Stoneman will sample IndyCar machinery with Andretti Autosport at Watkins Glen next month, with the team handing test runs…

    Indy
  14. 10:18

    Photos: Schumacher charity football match

    F1
  15. In photos: Ricciardo hits the F1 century 09:04

    In photos: Ricciardo hits the F1 century

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo will make his 100th appearance in Formula 1 at this weekend's German Grand Prix. GPUpdate.net…

    F1
  16. Mercedes must accept driver 'idiosyncrasies' 08:32

    Mercedes must accept driver 'idiosyncrasies'

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he and the squad must deal with the "idiosyncracies" of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and…

    F1
  17. Binder replaces Canamasas at Carlin 07:59

    Binder replaces Canamasas at Carlin

    René Binder will return to the GP2 Series at Hockenheim this weekend in place of Sergio Canamasas at Carlin. Canamasas…

    GP2
  18. Video of the Day: Vettel on home Grand Prix 05:42

    Video of the Day: Vettel on home Grand Prix

    Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel looks ahead to his home race, the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

    F1
  19. Wednesday 27 July 2016

  20. 16:02

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  21. Haas looks to overhaul McLaren in Germany 15:04

    Haas looks to overhaul McLaren in Germany

    Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says the squad wants to enter Formula 1's summer break having gained a position in the…

    F1
  22. Bradl to exit MotoGP at the end of 2016 13:42

    Bradl to exit MotoGP at the end of 2016

    Stefan Bradl has confirmed that he will leave MotoGP at the end of the season, with a switch to the World Superbike Championship…

    MotoGP
  23. Pirelli: Hockenheim 'an unknown quantity' 12:50

    Pirelli: Hockenheim 'an unknown quantity'

    Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery says this weekend's German Grand Prix will be "a bit of an unknown quantity" tyre-wise…

    F1
  24. Mercedes: 'Pressure on' at home event 12:02

    Mercedes: 'Pressure on' at home event

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is wary that the pressure will be on the team as it bids to deliver a strong result at its home event…

    F1
  25. Abiteboul: Renault must convert potential 11:12

    Abiteboul: Renault must convert potential

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says the manufacturer must convert its opportunities into points after making a…

    F1
  26. Alonso not expecting repeat of Hungary pace 10:28

    Alonso not expecting repeat of Hungary pace

    Fernando Alonso says he is not expecting McLaren to repeat its Hungary form at this weekend's German Grand Prix, having been…

    F1
  27. Ocon set for another FP1 run in Germany 09:15

    Ocon set for another FP1 run in Germany

    Renault test driver Esteban Ocon will receive another outing in free practice for this weekend's German Grand Prix, his fourth…

    F1
  28. Ferrari parts company with James Allison 09:04

    Ferrari parts company with James Allison

    Ferrari has confirmed that James Allison has departed the team, with Mattia Binotto installed as Chief Technical…

    F1
  29. Enerson gets IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne 08:05

    Enerson gets IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne

    RC Enerson will make his IndyCar debut at Mid-Ohio this weekend after penning a deal to race for Dale Coyne. Enerson, 19…

    Indy
  30. Preview: German Grand Prix - Round 12 07:36

    Preview: German Grand Prix - Round 12

    Formula 1 heads to the German Grand Prix with a new championship leader, after Lewis Hamilton beat Nico Rosberg to victory in…

    F1
  31. Video of the Day: Decoding race strategies 05:22

    Video of the Day: Decoding race strategies

    Mercedes' Chief Strategist, James Vowles, explains the 'Pure Pit Wall' which helps decode race strategies.

    F1
  32. Tuesday 26 July 2016

  33. Smedley: Williams must be 'introspective' 15:34

    Smedley: Williams must be 'introspective'

    Williams performance chief Rob Smedley has urged the team to "knuckle down" and be "introspective" in an attempt to recover from…

    F1
  34. Pirelli confirms Brazil, Abu Dhabi compounds 14:07

    Pirelli confirms Brazil, Abu Dhabi compounds

    Pirelli has outlined its compound nominations for the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. For the Interlagos round, the…

    F1
  35. Wehrlein: Mercedes to decide 2017 plans 13:13

    Wehrlein: Mercedes to decide 2017 plans

    Mercedes-backed Pascal Wehrlein says it will be up to the German manufacturer where he races next year, as he focuses on the…

    F1
  36. Video: Mercedes' Hungarian GP podium 12:02

    Video: Mercedes' Hungarian GP podium

    Mercedes Sporting Director Ron Meadows shares his podium story from the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    F1
  37. Ecclestone's mother-in-law 'kidnapped' 10:24

    Ecclestone's mother-in-law 'kidnapped'

    Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law has been kidnapped in Brazil, with a ransom of 120 million Brazilian Reals (£28m) demanded by…

    F1
  38. Alex Lynn's GPUpdate column: Fighting hard 10:02

    Alex Lynn's GPUpdate column: Fighting hard

    Williams development driver and GP2 racer Alex Lynn will write a regular column for GPUpdate.net this year, charting his on and…

    F1
  39. Snetterton honours Wilson with corner name 09:28

    Snetterton honours Wilson with corner name

    UK racing circuit Snetterton has honoured the late Justin Wilson by renaming a corner after him, active from this weekend's…

    Misc
  40. In photos: Hamilton's Hungaroring record 08:22

    In photos: Hamilton's Hungaroring record

    Lewis Hamilton set a new outright record by winning his fifth Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, moving clear of Michael…

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: MotoGP's Red Bull Ring test 05:37

    Video of the Day: MotoGP's Red Bull Ring test

    Suzuki duo Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró reflect on last week's MotoGP test at the Red Bull Ring.

    MotoGP
  42. Monday 25 July 2016

  43. Winners and Losers: Hungarian Grand Prix 16:28

    Winners and Losers: Hungarian Grand Prix

    Lewis Hamilton moved ahead of Nico Rosberg with his fifth win of the campaign, as the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers battled.…

    F1
  44. Video of the Day: Rosberg's Hungary blog 14:12

    Video of the Day: Rosberg's Hungary blog

    Nico Rosberg reflects on dropping behind Lewis Hamilton in the title race after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    F1
  45. Massa lapped twice during 'terrible' race 13:36

    Massa lapped twice during 'terrible' race

    Felipe Massa described his Hungarian Grand Prix as "terrible" as he battled persistent steering wheel issues en route to an…

    F1
more news