F1 2015 team preview: Red Bull Racing

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Red Bull Racing

Drivers
No. 3 Daniel Ricciardo
No. 26 Daniil Kvyat

First Race: 2005 Australian Grand Prix
Grands Prix: 184
Pole Positions: 
57
Fastest Laps: 
44
Race Wins: 
50
Constructors’ Championships: 
4
2014 Championship Result: 
2nd (405 points)

2014 was a shock to Red Bull’s system. The ‘party team’ of the mid-2000s had gotten tough and mean as of 2009, with four straight championship doubles coming with Sebastian Vettel from 2010 through 2013. However, as the Renault power unit left much to be desired last season, it could only limp home in a distant second behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, almost 300 points adrift.

Nevertheless, Red Bull was still clearly the best of the rest. Daniel Ricciardo’s breakthrough year yielded three superb wins as he left Vettel in his tracks, prompting the German – among other reasons, of course – to switch to Ferrari for 2015. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat is his replacement, with 2015 being the Russian’s sophomore year in F1. The team may lack experience in the driver department, and the loss of Adrian Newey upstairs is a big hit for the team as he turns his attention away from  racing. However, don’t go thinking that Red Bull will lose its mojo this year: the team knows what it takes to be the best.

DANIEL RICCIARDO No. 3

Ricciardo enters his second season with Red Bull, and fourth full season overall, as outright team leader for the first time. He proved tenacious when he needed to be last year and seized the best possible result at almost every opportunity last year, with the three wins the standout but other podium or top-five runs also turning heads. Now faced with a new teammate in Daniil Kvyat who’s poised to emulate what Ricciardo did last year, will Ricciardo rise to the challenge or lose his ubiquitous smile if Daniil Kvyat outperforms expectations?

DANIIL KVYAT No. 26

As debut seasons go, Kvyat’s can be described as “solid but unspectacular”. The young Russian certainly made an impact by scoring points on his debut, and although he was ultimately beaten by Toro Rosso teammate Jean-Eric Vergne in the final standings, Kvyat was arguably the better driver. One of the biggest highlights came in qualifying for his home race in Russia where he qualified fifth, only for the STR9 to chew up its tires and leave him out of the points on Sunday. The step up to Red Bull is a big one, but Kvyat doesn’t feel under pressure. If anything, he could thrive under it in 2015 alongside Ricciardo.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).