Sunday, August 27, 2017

1 Racing Mind's 2017 Formula 1 Summer Break Report Card: Red Bull Racing

Photo Credit: Charles Coates/Getty Images

Team Grade: A-

Driver Grades
Daniel Ricciardo: A-
Max Verstappen: C

Since 2014, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing have appeared to exchange ‘second-in-class’ honours in Formula 1 behind the Mercedes AMG team. Although Scuderia Ferrari has surged forward into a viable challenger against the Silver Arrows in 2017, Red Bull Racing has not been standing still. Continuing to source power from a rebadged Renault engine called a TAG Heuer, the Austrian-owned race organization has a total of six podium results in the first 11 grand prix events.

One of the more outstanding performance of the season is coming from Daniel Ricciardo. After an opening round in his home country where his car was unable to take the starting grid but still completed a handful of laps, the Australian driver hit a major stride starting with the Spanish Grand Prix. Ricciardo would grab a podium position in five consecutive races. The success was coupled by a ritualistic sight of Ricciardo drinking from his shoe and sharing it with fellow podium scorers. The highlight for Daniel Ricciardo a victorious outing at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Ricciardo’s first win since Malaysia last season, a Red Bull Racing machine’s win placed a third team at the top of the podium in 2017 (the first time since 2013 when more than two constructors won races in a season).    

The 2017 season has not been kind to Red Bull Racing’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen. Promoted to the team last season, Verstappen instantly became a winning driver when he captured the Spanish Grand Prix. In his first full season behind the wheel of a Red Bull-TAG Heuer, the 19-year-old’s progress has been countered by bad luck. With five retirements in 2017 (three related to vehicle failure and two resulting from collisions), Max Verstappen finishing results are led by a third place at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Thoughts of Team for Remainder of 2017:

Red Bull Racing has many desirable ingredients for a winning Formula 1 team with a solid driver lineup and a proven technical development staff. About the only obstacle to Red Bull Racing enjoying greater success in 2017 is the Mercedes AMG and Ferrari race cars. A matter of just a few tenths of a second keeps the cars away from being a surefire contender for race wins. Depending on the race track, a Red Bull-TAG Heuer could again find victory in 2017 under the right circumstances.

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