By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Red Bull pulled clear of Ferrari last year to be Mercedes’ most consistent challenger. Max Verstappen won in Spain, Daniel Ricciardo was robbed of certain victory at Monaco, nearly pipped Rosberg at Singapore, and finally won in Malaysia. Such was the hype that they were widely expected to pick up where they left off and potentially challenge Mercedes for the championship this year. Testing was not a resounding success as the team played their cards close to their chest, but the prevailing feeling is that they are the third best team and not quite on the level of Mercedes or Ferrari, at least not yet.
|No. 3||Daniel Ricciardo||(Australia)|
|No. 33||Max Verstappen||(Netherlands)|
|Team Owner||Dietrich Mateschitz|
|Team Principal||Christian Horner|
|Special Advisor||Helmut Marko|
|Technical Director||Adrian Newey|
|Head of Aerodynamics||Dan Fallows|
Red Bull Racing RB13
Can Red Bull pick up the pace and challenge Mercedes and Ferrari for the title? Does Adrian Newey have a trick up his sleeve that the team are yet to reveal?
The stalwart team has the most exciting lineup on the grid courtesy of Ricciardo and Verstappen. Daniel was head and shoulders the best driver of 2016 and should have had about three race wins on merit. Verstappen is perhaps the most talented driver since Ayrton Senna and showed moments of brilliance last year in Spain and especially, Brazil.
The team had a low key two weeks for the preseason tests in Barcelona, where they ran into MGU-K issues with their Renault built, TAG Heuer-badged power units. They did have the fourth fastest time of testing with a 1:19.438 from Verstappen, but they only had the seventh most laps, 684 to Mercedes’ dominant 1,096.
The car they have brought to Australia already features updates to the sidepods and bargeboard area over what they showed in Spain. Red Bull may well challenge for the championship this year, they might not, but they will surely be in the hunt for victories before long.
The drivers are too good, the team is too good, to be denied for too long.