F1 2016 Team Preview: Red Bull Racing

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Red Bull spent much of 2015 debating its future in Formula 1 as its fall from champions to midfield runners was confirmed by another disappointing season.

The engine supply saga dominated the headlines from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, but 12 months later, Red Bull is still here and still with a Renault engine, even if it is called a ‘TAG Heuer’.

Can Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat rediscover some of the team’s old spark this year? Or will it be a third year of trials and tribulations at Milton Keynes?

TEAM: Red Bull Racing
ENGINE: TAG Heuer
CAR: Red Bull RB12

2015 STATS

Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums: 3
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 3
Points: 187
Laps Led: 7
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 7th (Daniil Kvyat); 8th (Daniel Ricciardo)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 4th

2016 LINE-UP

26. Daniil Kvyat (RUS)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)

2015 TEAM RECAP

If 2014 was seen as a ‘blip’ following four years of dominance, then 2015 was the wake-up call Red Bull did not want but definitely needed. Three podium finishes arguably flattered Red Bull, comfortably the fourth-fastest team for much of the season. Issues with the Renault power unit held both Ricciardo and Kvyat back, and although something had to change – ultimately, just the name – the way it was handled off-track was messy. Ricciardo failed to live up to the hype of his breakthrough season in 2014, being outscored by Kvyat in his sophomore year, making it a season to forget all around.

2016 OUTLOOK

2016 certainly has the makings of a better season for Red Bull. The team may no longer have the image of the dominant champions it enjoyed from 2010 to 2013, but it has found some of the old ‘fun’ Red Bull spark. New deals with TAG Heuer and Puma have been given a great deal of hype, while the Renault power unit holds more promise than it did last year. The beginning of the season will be tough, but once the updates begin to roll in from Viry, Red Bull could be back in the thick of the fight at the front. P3 in the championship has to be a realistic target before trying to rediscover the magic of the Sebastian Vettel era in 2017.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

Petit Le Mans championship
IMSA
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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”