F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Red Bull

Red Bull were distanced by Mercedes and Ferrari in 2017, but encouraging signs in testing have suggested the gap may be closing.

Published : Mar 18, 2018 14:41 IST

Ahead of the opening race of the 2018 Formula One season in Australia in March 25, we take a look at how each team is shaping up for the new campaign.

Here we assess whether Red Bull can break the Mercedes-Ferrari stranglehold.



Solidly, but not particularly impressively. In 2016, Red Bull were the main challengers for Mercedes but Ferrari's revival last year left the Austrian team adrift in third.

There were three wins - Max Verstappen edging Daniel Ricciardo 2-1 on that score - and 12 podiums to celebrate, but 13 retirements cost them any chance of fighting Ferrari.



Daniel Ricciardo

Back for a fifth season with the team, Ricciardo has plenty to build on despite a retirement-laden 2017.

The king of the 'shoey' will have to up his game, though, if he is to get the better of the improving Verstappen.


Max Verstappen

His first full campaign with Red Bull saw him enhance his reputation as one of the quickest and most daring drivers in the paddock.

He only enjoyed four top-three finishes, though, which is something he needs to improve heading into 2018.


Plot the downfall of Mercedes and Ferrari. Red Bull slipped behind Ferrari in the pursuit of Mercedes, and they risk being distanced further this year. Powered by a Honda engine, they have to improve their reliability and turn the title fight into a proper battle.

Agree a Ricciardo renewal. Since joining the team in 2014, Ricciardo has been a solid performer, finishing third in the drivers' standings twice, but his future is uncertain. Red Bull have set a deadline to agree a new deal beyond this season, now all they have to do is meet it!



Ricciardo is confident the gap is closing to Mercedes after impressive outings during testing in Barcelona.

The Australian was fastest on day two of the second week of pre-season work, getting plenty out of the new hypersoft tyre to leave Lewis Hamilton in his wake.

Red Bull have the talent in the cockpit. If the power unit can deliver competitive performances then Ferrari – and maybe the Silver Arrows – will have a real challenge on their hands.

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