Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Red Bull face internal and external pressures

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber had differing emotions on show in Montreal on Sunday. The German, who finished 4th despite an oil leak with his gearbox, cut an angry and frustrated figure. The Australian, who came 5th after starting 7th because of a gearbox change before the race, was satisfied with a good haul of points on a track that Red Bull felt would not be best suited to their car. Lewis Hamilton's consecutive victories may have given him the championship lead but both Red Bull drivers remain within 20 points of the Englishman.

For Vettel, this season has been a case of what might have been. Most readers will have seen how strong positions in Bahrain, Australia and Spain were hampered by mechancial problems. What could have been a big lead early in the season was rather the annoyance of not being able to make full use of the RB6's early domination. The European races have seen Webber raise his game. Crushing victories in Barcelona and Monte Carlo over his team mate, who up to then had been the leading Red Bull, seen the Australian lead the world championship for the first time in his career. Then came the drama of Istanbul. Vettel looked set for pole position but more car issues hindered him at the vital moment and Webber maintained the advantage. As the German made his now infamous move he expected his team mate to yield, he was the main man and about to resume the normal order of things. But Webber was not about to give up. He made it as difficult as possible, he does not want to play number 2 and hand it to Vettel on a plate.

So who has the upper hand at Red Bull? Well i would have to side with Webber for now but this is as much for his good form as for Vettel's downfall. His frustration over the radio in Canada was evident. His flat out approach may be contributing to his reliabilty issues though this is something which is hard to pin directly in correlation with it. I feel Webber has got to him, he felt he was the main man in the team and the post race inquest after Turkey has put the Red Bull team under the microscope. Any perceived team preferences will now be under intense scrutiny. In Malaysia, Webber said he didn't try to jump Vettel in the stops as the agreement in the team was that the leading car had the first call on pitting. Yet this seems to have gone out the window with Webber being behind in Montreal but pitting first. Red Bull's operational side of the team have cost the team in maximising their car advantage so far this season. They have 2 drivers who are not happy with each other and this could ultimately harm their hopes in both championships.

Next weekend see's the third race at the street circuit in Valencia. This track was a weak one for Red Bull last season and for Mark Webber in particular. The team are going to try and run their F-Duct device to help straight line speed down the long straights on this circuit. The team tried it in Friday practice at Istanbul but decided not to use it for the rest of the weekend. What is important is that the team maximise their chances. It's so simple to say that but it's true. Silverstone should be ideal for them but their rivals may have similiar rear ends by then in an attempt to compete more competitively with them. Red Bull are still right in the hunt but the question marks are there. Can the team handle the pressure? Is Vettel good enough to be a top line driver? Will Webber be able to maintain the consistency needed to be a champion? All key issues and answers may well be forthcoming in the coming months. Red Bull are fighting against the two biggest teams in F1 and 3 of the best drivers in the world. If they can pull at least one championship out of this season come Abu Dhabi it will be a huge acheivement.


  1. They are going to have to try and get amongst McLaren

  2. Will be interesting if they can, Red Bull might have the F-Duct in the race as well