Red Bull Racing has the best overall package and the most number of pole positions by a country mile. They dominate Saturdays to the extent that the rest of the field can just start fighting for positions three and below. However, their results on Sundays have been anything but dominant.
While they may have won as many points as most of their competitors, their potential is far beyond that. Red Bull has too few wins and should have had both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles sown up by now
Any fan of Red Bull would not be out of place asking why the team has not had a Ferrari-style domination, particularly during the Schumacher era.
In this article, I will try and put forth some important incidents during the season and will also look forward to your opinion on Red Bull’s failure to dominate.
Red Bull’s lack of team spirit is very evident. The British Grand Prix was the crescendo for this saga as the team removed the upgraded wing from Mark Weber’s car and put it onto Vettel. This fired Weber to victory in that race, but for sure, internally, the team must have been split right down the middle.
The last time a team faced a similar situation was Mclaren when they had Hamilton and Alonso on their books, and we all know how that story ended. If Red Bull are to have a fighting chance in what is left of this season, the team must designate a No. 1, especially in case of events such as queuing up in the pit-lane and slowing down rivals’ cars to let one car get an advantage for example.
With the standings as they are, Weber clearly has a better chance than Vettel. This does not imply that Red Bull endorse Ferrari-esque team orders, but if there exists a toss up of strategies, the No. 1 driver must be given preference.
An excellent example of such strategies would be in case of changeable weather conditions and the risk of going to intermediates or full-wets. The No. 1 driver must not be the one to experiment, and the team can well sacrifice the No. 2 driver’s position if it is going to secure them a drivers’ title at the end.
Many expected the Renault-powered engines of Red Bull to give them a major disadvantage against Ferrari and Mclaren in particular. While, the disadvantage hasn’t been that noticeable, no one can deny that a more powerful engine would have given the team more of a cutting edge on some of the more high speed, low down-force circuits.
The Renault engine has not been the most reliable either with the team having to request the drivers to tone down the revs in more than one race. The Korean GP heart-break for Vettel must have been a bitter pill to swallow for everyone connected with Red Bull Racing.
Vettel walking away from his car: A site seen one time too many
To say that Red Bull have suffered far too many retirements would be the understatement of the season. Newey is known for building his cars fast and brittle. During his Mclaren days however, his cars seemed more reliable, at least during the time when Hakkinen was ruling the F1 World.
The latest example of this unreliability was Vettel’s engine failure in the Korean GP. Who is to say that this won’t cost the German the world title. Christian Horner must be crossing fingers, toes and everything else that nothing goes wrong with either of his cars in the remaining race this season. One fears, though, that the damage may already be done.
For all of Sebastian Vettel’s immense talent, there has to be a question mark about his overtaking abilities. Everyone wants to see loads of overtaking in every race, and that is all well and good from the spectators’ point of view.
Vettel must, however, restrain himself especially when he has more to lose than gain. The Belgian Grand Prix being a classic case in point.
What fans of the young German are looking for is clinical precision. The combination of his form and the Red Bull car are so much superior to the competition that winning the championship has to be a given but here we sit in November with Vettel 25 points adrift of the championship leader and almost out of the running.
At least there hasn’t been a repeat of the Kubica-type incident when Vettel threw away a certain podium finish.
In contrast to Red Bull’s no team orders attitude, Ferrari have been their usual selves in clearly deciding which driver they were going to back.
Alonso was well ahead of Massa in the standings when the German Grand Prix incident took place. The rules clearly stated that team orders were not to be encouraged.
Like the multitude of fans, I am of the opinion that Ferrari got off lightly without a severe enough punishment.
While Mclaren and Ferrari are past masters at bending the rules to the breaking point, Red Bull are the new kids on the block, and without a Jean Todt and Ross Brawn-type figure, the team is susceptible to be outsmarted by the seasoned veterans at the other established teams.
The last point here is to speculate about the future for Red Bull, Vettel and Weber. Red Bull clearly need a better engine if they are to challenge on circuits such as Monza. They have to hope for better reliability if they are not to gift the title to their rivals like they did with Brawn GP last year.
Mark Weber has had a solid season to the extent that he might have out done expectations at the start of the season. His seat seems safe for the future.
Vettel is the curious case. Speculation always seems to be rife that Ferrari is looking to sign him. With Massa resigning and Alonso there for the foreseeable future, that story seems tepid at the moment.
We can always speculate about Mercedes GP wanting a German driver in the future, but for the moment, why would Vettel leave the best car on the field for a very blunt one indeed?
The smart thing for Vettel would be to stick with Red Bull and build a Schumacher-esque dynasty, winning drivers’ and constructor’s titles galore.
What is your opinion on Red Bull’s failures this season and what the future holds for the team and its Drivers?