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F1 2014 Season Preview

Red Bull have had a less than impressive start to the 2014 season. There's still a lot to be done for Red Bull to be half as competitive as they were last year.

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TV: Sky Sports F1 (UK), NBC (USA)

It would be almost unfathomable that a team that romped home to their fourth consecutive World Champion at Brazil a mere few months ago, could start next week’s Australian Grand Prix with absolutely no chance of finishing on the podium.

Such is the change that comes with new regulations, Red Bull Racing, a proud team that has dominated the last era of Formula 1, face an incredible uphill battle to keep their and their star driver, Sebastian Vettel’s, sensational winning streak going.

F1 2014 Season Preview

This is without doubt their toughest test yet. Like the dominance of Ferrari was brought to an end by taking away their biggest asset is sensational strategy as the FIA banned changing tyres during the race, one could argue history is seemingly repeating itself.

The latest revolution in Formula 1 has made the engine of the car that much more crucial. Red Bull, of course, unashamedly admit to having the weakest engine on the grid in a Renault, that much at least is true since the departure of Cosworth.

Their battle to keep up their run of form which has seen them create history will be the big story of the current Formula 1 season. It would appear from the outset that this season is going down to a pure arms race between the big teams. Perhaps in the early stages surprises might pop up here and there, but as everyone in the sport knows, ultimately development wins and money funds development. In Formula 1 of all sports it is true that the rich often win.

The RB10 in itself isn’t a bad car, at least it doesn’t appear to be in the limited running we’ve seen. The design is typically unique and amazing, with chief designer Adrian Newey having weaved his magic wand once again. But this time there has been one variable which has been out of Red Bull’s hands that of their customer Renault engine.

Many have pointed out, and Red Bull have themselves admitted, that the main problems seems to be the cooling of the engine. It might be in this respect that Adrian Newey has been too brilliant for his own good. His design might just have been so perfect that Renault’s imperfect engine won’t work with it.

In the first test it became apparent that the rear of the Red Bull was simply packed up to tight. With the various operating parts too close together, Newey doing so to extract the maximum aerodynamic benefit, cooling became a rather big issue, one that the Renault engine simply couldn’t cope with.

Apart from this primary hurdle which so horrendously impaired Red Bull’s ability to get mileage into their new car, the RB10 is otherwise first class. Some might argue that with a Mercedes engine the RB10 would be competing with, if not better than the Mercedes that has so dominated testing headlines so far.

But that’s all fantasy. Christian Horner and Adrian Newey realise they’ve got to make the best of the lemons Renault has given them, and it’s not inconceivable that these championship winning leaders can do just that.

Although the team is entering this new era, perhaps more is being made of the loss of Mark Webber than is the reality. Yes Webber was an outstanding driver and, at times, a fantastic contributor to the Red Bull team. But the fact remains that while Vettel won 13 races Webber won none.

Young Daniel Ricciardo has a lot to prove and perhaps not the car to prove it. His situation could potentially turn out like Sergio Perez at McLaren last year, simply getting into the right car at the wrong time.

But Red Bull will fight. This is going to be a season won in development, not different to any other. And over the last five years if anything is to hold true into this new era, it’s that Red Bull and Newey are clearly the kings of development.

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