It would seem that, in the wake of yet another disappointing race, Red Bull are planning to leave Formula 1 (despite being contracted until 2020), a result of their ongoing unhappiness with the current regulations and reliability problems with their Renault engines.
We are only five races into the 2015 season, yet Daniel Ricciardo has already used four engines (the maximum permitted before facing grid penalties), whilst his teammate Daniil Kvyat has also been forced into more than one engine change. Sister team Toro Rosso have faced similar issues, and the cars have not been particularly balanced to boot. Red Bull have not been at all competitive in 2015, and to me it seems they are having an epic tantrum.
As a team, Red Bull dominated proceedings from 2010 to 2013, winning four consecutive driver’s and constructor’s championships. Then the regulations changed, and despite their resources and finances, Red Bull failed to adapt. Obviously, no one wants to be second-best (especially if you’re used to winning), but all sport sees ebbs and flows. Teams peak, they wane, and they peak again.
Red Bull’s greatest strength in recent years has been producing cars that have terrific downforce. They tended to be good on their tyres, and a lack of engine power was more than compensated for by aerodynamic brilliance, making the cars easy to drive and especially good on twisty tracks. I can’t help but wonder if their threats to quit are an attempt to force the hands of F1 bosses into returning to an era where aerodynamics are more important than engine grunt – because they clearly lack the latter.
What RBR seem to be forgetting is that they actually won races last year, thanks in part to their car’s aerodynamic properties. Despite having a car that wasn’t as powerful engine-wise as the Williams, RBR were second in the championship last year. They’ve made backward steps this year and are blaming everyone else, throwing their toys out of the pram, and I find it pathetic.
I can only wonder what this means for the drivers currently employed by Red Bull. They are doing their best in trying circumstances, and surely want to remain in F1.