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Red Bull heads to Austria bidding to improve home race form

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Red Bull Formula 1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will head to next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix bidding to improve their team’s home race form, having scored just one podium over the past three years in Spielberg.

Austria returned to the F1 calendar in 2014 after an 11-year absence, but the past three races at the Red Bull Ring have been difficult ones for the home team.

Max Verstappen finished second last year after the late clash between Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, outstripping Red Bull’s previous best finish of eighth in Austria from 2014.

After claiming its first victory of the season last time out in Baku, Red Bull now returns home with its sights set on impressing at one of its most important races of the year.

“I had a really good result in Austria last year coming second,” Verstappen said. “Before the race it was a bit unknown how the tires would play out so I just tried to feel my way in and keep life in them.

“This allowed me to complete a one-stop strategy, which was always going to be a gamble, but in the end worked out really well.

“This year we have to make sure the car is working well in the corners in order to be up with the front-runners and then just try and be as competitive as possible on the straights, it’s always a bit of a compromise.

“The fans at the Red Bull Ring are always extremely passionate and of course there was a big Dutch turn out last year which is always special for me to see, plenty of caravans and orange around the area.”

“At any kind of power circuit like Austria you want to be smooth and get good exits in order to give yourself the best chance on the long straights,” added Baku winner Ricciardo.

“The compromise is always the aero package. In the middle to the end of the lap you want more downforce because the corners are quite fast but more downforce means you are slower on the straights, so the key is to find a good balance throughout the lap.

“I really enjoy the track and the only downside is that I wish it was a bit longer. I wish it had a few more corners, but the corners that do exist are great fun.”

Back in May, Ricciardo and Verstappen completed a fun caravan race at the Red Bull Ring in promotion of the race, causing havoc in the process.

“We have done some pretty crazy things at the track, wearing the lederhosen race suit is something different and a few weeks ago Max and I raced caravans there,” Ricciardo said.

“To be honest I’m not sure they would have let us do that anywhere else as the caravans were destroyed, but we loved it!”

McLaren almost back on schedule with 2018 F1 car after delay

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McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.

McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.

The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.

“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.

“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.

“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.

“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.

“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”