Red Bull drivers Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel try out their wings while celebrating in Monaco
May.20 (Michael Johnsson) The Red Bull Racing team is finally turning the potential of this year’s car into results on the track, seizing the leads of both Formula 1 championships and sounding a clear warning to rivals that they intend to keep them.
Red Bull Racing duo have waved goodbye to their rivals lately
Plagued by niggling reliability issues and bad racing luck early in the season, Red Bull has emerged as a force to be reckoned with.
Both drivers are tied atop the drivers points standings after strong recent performances, putting the team in position one in the constructors title chase.
The most recent examples were Mark Webber’s sterling performances at both Barcelona and Monaco, where he posted dominant race victories from pole position without putting a wheel wrong.
Webbo’s Monte Carlo drive in particular was a master class, as he kept the lead and his head through three restarts and never exhibited so much as a single active nerve ending.
Mark Webber led Sebastian Vettel to an emphatic 1-2 at Monaco
His teammate, Sebastian Vettel, hasn’t exactly been doing poorly except in comparison to Webber’s recent dominance. He won in Malaysia and finished second in Monaco, bringing his 2010 podium count to three, a total would be higher if not for a late mechanical problem in Bahrain and a wheel failure in Melbourne. He has started from pole three times and Webber twice in this season’s six races to date.
All this means that the Ferraris and McLarens of the F1 world need to pick up their respective pace sooner rather than later or they’ll be left in the dust by an outfit that’s looking more like the team to beat with every passing race. Ferrari has just one win this year and McLaren two. Red Bull has the rest.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner with prized silverware from Monte Carlo
Ferrari’s cause was not aided at Monaco when Fernando Alonso crashed heavily during Saturday’s practice session, which ruled him out of taking part in qualifying as the team repaired his car. While he recovered admirably to finish sixth after starting from the pit lane, he might have done better from the first two rows of the grid, where he had started in four of the previous five races.
Nor was McLaren helped when a mechanic apparently left a radiator block in one of Jenson Button’s side pods as he left the pits on Sunday to take to the grid. The ensuing heat build-up made porridge out of Button’s engine after just two laps, knocking him out of the championship lead.
Adrian Newey is the (substantial) brains behind the Red Bull RB6
Neither team has room for such errors at this point, even though the season has just reached the one-third mark. Nor can pretenders such as Mercedes GP, which lost points at Monaco thanks to Michael Schumacher’s bull-headed attempt to improve his final placement on the final corner. The pace Red Bull is now setting makes keeping things clean that much more important.
The RB6 chassis, penned by renowned F1 aerodynamicist Adrian Newey, is sleek and efficient. Its power, supplied by Renault, has been reliable and is likely to remain so. The manufacturer’s team has yet to suffer any engine failures this year and neither has Red Bull. In fact, a Renault engine hasn’t given up since Vettel’s folded during last year’s European GP, their only failure in the last 36 races according to the Formula 1 web site.
Red Bull will be looking to captialise on their dominant form
Such is not the case at Ferrari, where Fernando Alonso has suffered an engine detonation this year, if only in practice, which must still cause him a somewhat nervous feeling. The Sauber team has experienced multiple failures with its Ferrari customer power plants, which must make team principal Peter Sauber, whose cars are running sans sponsorship, wonder why he’s paying for them.
Any further errors on the part of any team expecting to contend for either title this year could seal their fate as Red Bull gets stronger as the season progresses. Should it continue to do so, they’ll likely have a trophy for each horn before the year’s out.