Red Bull Racing: No Depth or Lost Potential?
If I had written this mid-season, when Red Bull Racing was having one of the best runs in its short history, I would have been out of my mind. But as the season has went on, Red Bull has dried up with points and is being beaten by "junior" team Toro Rosso.
The first half of the 2008 season saw Red Bull Racing score a string of consecutive points scoring finishes by Mark Webber and see a podium with David Coulthard. But, the second half has seen a bleak period for the Milton Keynes based squad.
What has caused this drop in form?
The RB4 has been known to have a small sweet spot, unlike the top teams. After improving the reliability after a dismal 2007 season, the RB4 had strong pace and reliability.
With such a small sweet spot, the car suited fast and flowing circuits, like that of Silverstone and Magny Cours which saw strong runs out of them. However, it lacks mechanical grip, which was most notable Monaco practice and qualifying; the team had struggled throughout the weekend, bringing up the rear of the time sheets.
The struggle with mechanical was also found in Valencia in which Red Bull Racing had a terrible weekend.
Noted as one of the weakest parts of the RB4, the Renault engine has been a talking point in the media recently. Originally, Renault had one of the strongest engines at the start of an engine freeze (Suzuka 2006). Many teams have now caught up and passed the Renault power plant in performance through loopholes in the regulations.
In sticking to the so called "spirit of the sport," Renault has not chosen not to capitalize on opportunities to improve.
Heading into the twilight of his career, David Coulthard has endured a poor season. With his only points finishes being a podium Canada and seventh in Singapore, the Scot has struggled to equal teammate Mark Webber.
Webber, on the other hand, had a dazzling opening half of the season, even on level with Mclaren's Heikki Kovalainen. However, the solid results in the second half of the season have been less consistent.
Sebastian Vettel may prove to be the fresh air Webber needs to show his full ability; Red Bull's driver lineup will be one of the most respected and offer an interesting teammate challenge.
As with life, results can determine if you're happy or not. After riding on a great streak of points, the team endured a weak period in which points were hard to come by. That tough stretch has most certainly affected team morale.
Poor results, along with being beaten by its "junior team," most prominently by Sebastien Vettel, the Red Bull Racing team morale can't be high.
Certainly being beaten by the "lesser" team won't be a good talking point for the boys at Red Bull Racing. However, the future outlook certainly looks more prosperous.
Next season will be a make or break one for Adrian Newey and his team at Red Bull Racing; however, a strong car coupled with the abilities of Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel will certainly prove the abilities of the entire squad.
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