Will a fourth different chassis be the charm for the four-time and defending World Champion?
In a bid to set up Sebastian Vettel for a strong finish to what’s been a disappointing 2014 season, Red Bull Racing has confirmed that the German will be given a brand-new chassis for the Singapore Grand Prix later this month.
This chassis will be the third different RB10 he’s driven in as many races. It’ll also be the third “new” chassis he’s gotten hold of in 2014, as the one he used in last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix was previously used.
“The chassis in Monza was actually an older one that was used in testing at Silverstone,” team advisor Dr. Helmut Marko told German publication Sport Bild. “[The change] was more for psychological reasons. Now he’s going to get a brand new one.”
Vettel finished sixth last weekend and was once again bested by teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished one spot ahead in fifth.
Ricciardo has earned three victories in his first season with Red Bull, while Vettel has struggled to perform well in Formula One’s new era of hybrid V6-powered machines.
So is it time for Red Bull to consider giving Ricciardo No. 1 status for at least the remainder of 2014? The decision would likely be easier to make if Ricciardo was closer to the championship-leading duo from Mercedes.
But Ricciardo is still 72 points down to World Championship leader Nico Rosberg (and 50 points behind second-place driver Lewis Hamilton).
And with that gap as big as it is, team principal Christian Horner has indicated there’s no point in pushing additional support Ricciardo’s way.
“We’ll let them race as we trust them,” Horner said to F1’s official website post-Monza. “They race each other hard but extremely fairly.
“The points difference between Daniel and the two Mercedes is enormous, so it does not make any sense for us to interfere.”