Red Bull Racing: The Season So Far

After a very topsy-turvy first half that was filled with drama, excitement, tension and controversy, Formula One is taking a much required break. So before we head back to the race track, let’s take a quick look at the season so far.
For the champions – Red Bull Racing, and their drivers Sebastian Vettel & Mark Webber, this season has been quite a challenge.
Rule changes at the beginning of the 2012 season meant that the blown diffusers used in the RB7 were now banned and the exhaust had to be redesigned to comply with new regulations. This cut down RBR’s advantage significantly resulting in a rather mild start to the year. Red Bull was no longer ‘the team to beat.’
For the first time in the history of Formula 1, the first 7 races were won by 7 different drivers hailing from 5 different teams. Although this meant more competition for Red Bull, the technical director-team principal partnerships of Adrian Newey and Christian Horner improved RB8 significantly over the course of the season and made sure it stayed ahead of the pack and at the top of the Constructors’ standing.
Some notable points from the season so far:
– The pre-season testing at Jerez and Barcelona showed that RBR had their work cut out for them.
Even during the tests, Mercedes, McLaren and Lotus matched Red Bull’s pace.
– Though Vettel managed a 2nd place finish in the first race at Albert Park, RB8’s lack of pace was immediately exposed when they failed to get a podium finish in next two races.
 
– Mark Webber has won two races so far and cemented his position in the team for next year as well. The Aussie recently signed a fresh contract with the Milton Keynes-based marque which will see him driving the bull till the end of 2013.
– Since Vettel is already on the contract till 2014, RBR is the only team to have their driver lineup fixed for the next season. This ensures that they don’t deal with any discomfort in the pits when the driver market heats up in the coming weeks.
– Unlike other teams, RBR has been smart enough to do small upgrades to their car in every race. As a result, RB8 is much faster and more reliable than it was at the start of the season.
– One of the most significant and controversial changes was made to the car owing to a directive issued by the FIA. Mark Webber’s Monaco GP winning car had a hole in the floor and though no official complaint was made by other teams, FIA declared the hole to be illegal and RBR were asked to change the design by the next race i.e. Canadian GP.
 
– One thing that Mark and Seb need to work on is the number of podium finishes.
Alonso with 164 points has grabbed six podiums so far. Webber’s two podium finishes have come in the form of victories at Monaco and Silverstone, while Vettel (122), who is two points behind Webber has tasted the bubbly thrice. Surprisingly, Hamilton (117) and Raikkonen (116) have been on the podium five times each.
 
Despite a tough season start, RBR are scoring well. They’re currently leading the Constructors’ Championship, and Mark Webber & Sebastian Vettel are current 2nd and 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship. With Webber two points ahead of Vettel and the latter enjoying a 6-5 head-to-head lead in terms of finishes over his Aussie teammate, it seems that this fight will go down to the wire.
 
The only thing left to be seen now is if Adrian Newey and Christian Horner can bring RB8 up to pace and give both their drivers a shot at the ultimate glory – the Drivers’ Championship.

So tighten your seatbelts and keep your fingers crossed, the second half of the F1 season is going to be one helluva ride! 

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The above post appeared on Red Bull India’s website on 14th August ’12. The original article can be found here 

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