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
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 3
Laps Led: 7
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 7th (Daniil Kvyat); 8th (Daniel Ricciardo)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 4th
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 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.