2015 Red Bull Racing Team
Red Bull-Renault, or Infiniti Red Bull Racing as known as for sponsorship reasons, is the most successful F1 team of the decade thus far. They won 4 consecutive World Constructors’ Championships from 2010-2013. In 2014 they finished a distant second behind the Mercedes AMG team who dominated the season. The two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and second in the Drivers’ Championship, while Team Red Bull newcomer Daniel Ricciardo finished third.
For the 2015 F1 Season the Red Bull team likely has their work cut out if they want a chance at catching Mercedes AMG. They are quite the underdog to score their fifth constructors championship in six years, though it is also certainly not impossible. To explain, it is important I clarify a few things.
During Red Bulls 2010-2013 dominance, their drivers were Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Webber retired at the end of 2013 season. Vettel, who was World Drivers’ Champion all four of those years, had a relatively poor 2014 and left the team to at the end of the season to race with Ferrari. To understand where their replacements came from I should mention Red Bull owns two F1 teams.
In addition to Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Red Bull also owns the Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 team. Daniel Ricciardo was a Toro starter for the second half of 2011, and all of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He joined Team Red Bull for 2014 after Mark Webber retired. Their other driver on the 2015 F1 Season is 20-year old Daniil Kvyat who joins Team Red Bull after only a single season with the Toro team in order to replace veteran driver Sebastian Vettel.
What are Infiniti Red Bull Racing 2015 Chances?
One bright side is that Daniel Ricciardo had an excellent 2014 in his first season racing on a top tier team. A quick look at his 2014 stats.
The fact this 25-year old has proven he can compete and win races is a big plus. Keep in mind too, he was joining the team that had a current 4-consecutive champion driver on it. Thus, he was starting as “the other guy”. He ended up leading the team beating his teammate Vettel by a large margin.
From here the question comes up is 20-year old Daniil Kvyat ready to race for Red Bull?. My personal gut answer is: “I don’t know”. This is a wait and see which makes Red Bull a riskier bet in any form of 2015 World Constructors’ Championship future bets.
Dealing with Renault Being Behind
A big theme last season was how dissatisfied Team Red Bull was with their Renault constructor. In 2014, F1 changed to a new 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged engine. The Renault version called the Energy F1-2014 was revealed at a Paris Air Show on 21 June 2013. During its early 2014 test the engines had a number of problems with the energy recovery systems and the turbo unit. These were upgraded throughout the year, but were criticized by the team and drivers for poor reliability and lack of top speed.
The constructor problems showed during the Australian Grand Prix (the first race of the season). Vettel retired due to engine failure. Ricciardo qualified P2 and finished 2nd in his very first race with the team. However, he found out after the race he was disqualified due to his car being in violation of the FIA’s 100 kg of fuel per hour rule. Other problems continued and by the Austrian Grand Prix the team was fed up. Red Bull team Principal Christian Horner blasted Renault in a TV interview when he said:
the big difference between Mercedes and Renault is that when a driver with a Mercedes engine pushes the overtake button his car goes faster. When our drivers, which have a Renault engine, push the button, the car stops!
This was a reoccurring theme throughout the season. For 2015 F1 Season many experts are saying Renault is again behind on developing a competitive car. Last season however they still managed to field a #3 finisher in Daniel Ricciardo who won 3 races, and still managed to finish runner-up in the World Constructors’ Championship.
Expert Betting Tip: Several online bookmakers during the offseason have Red Bull as at 9/1 to win the 2015 World Drivers’ Championship. In my opinion, I do agree they should be a big underdog to Mercedes due to being slightly behind on the car and having a question mark on whether 20-year old Daniil Kvyat is ready for such a big jump. They may even be behind McLaren-Honda as well. However that 9/1 shot is a VERY live bet. While quite often it is not going to win, I’d be surprised if that one is -EV. If you enjoy betting long shots that have some positive expected value, I think this is an excellent bet to grab.