After finishing third in the constructors’ standings last year, let’s take a look at how Red Bull is developing ahead of the long-delayed new season, as they will run even better in 2020 when the racing campaign starts in Austria.
How did you see the winter tests?
Red Bull came out of the pre-season in a fairly lively mood, which is significant because you had to dig a bit to estimate how well your winter had passed.
The car looked a bit handful at times, with Max Verstappen going through a series of turns, however much the Dutch played it down by saying he was only trying to find the limit of the car when his rivals found the limit, that they normally had suffered less dramatic moments.
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A 360 degree view of one of Constipation’s rotations in pre-season tests
But that didn’t overshadow the fact that they have a fast car. Red Bull appears to be ahead of the competition for the main opponent for Mercedes, and they worked a lot on the harder tire compounds in winter to ensure they had a stable base at the start of the season.
Honda was also confident as Japanese engine manufacturers made further progress before their second year at Red Bull.
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What has happened since then?
For Red Bull, it was a pretty quiet time compared to some of their rivals as they weren’t drawn into the stupid season of the driver market.
Verstappen has already signed a new long-term contract signed over the winter, and Alex Albon was impressed when he was strengthened last season, but will never be judged before the race starts again.
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During the shutdown, there was a collaboration with Renault as part of Project Pitlane and a lot of work behind the scenes of Red Bull as a brand to agree on the first two races on the track they own in Austria but on the team front – aside from The numerous meetings regarding the future provisions of sport – not much happened in public.
A very warm one-day test with the new RB16 took place last Thursday in Silverstone. Albon ended the day of shooting at the home of the British Grand Prix as preparations for the restart started.
But perhaps most importantly, Formula1.com learned that Honda was busy during the break and will bring a new engine to Austria, while Red Bull itself will also introduce a significant aerodynamic upgrade for its home race.
What did the drivers do during the break?
Both Verstappen and Albon were busy sim racing during the break, but on different platforms.
Verstappen continued his usual sim races with the Redline team, where he competed in addition to Lando Norris in the Le Mans 24 Virtual and also at some supercars events.
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Albon, on the other hand, was a regular at Twitch when he got involved in the Virtual Grand Prix series and won an epic battle with Charles Leclerc in Brazil, although he often complained about George Russell’s driving in private battles.
Before his second season in F1, it was Albon who shot the day at Silverstone last week. Red Bull and Verstappen agreed that their team leader wasn’t worth traveling to the UK two weeks earlier to watch a period of quarantine to complete a maximum of 17 laps.
How do you search for Austria?
Red Bull will be very interested in getting off to a flying start in its home race, even if it will be without fans.
Verstappen has won each of his last two visits to the Red Bull Ring – a dramatic win as he raced past Leclerc late last year – and there’s the added bonus of two races on the same track to start this season.
The Red Bull clearly seems to be working well on the Austrian race track, and the Honda engine upgraded for this race has performed just as impressively on the higher courses as Mexico and Brazil – the former on which Verstappen took a provisional pole last year and the latter, where he won, are higher.
Verstappen may not have the support that he normally enjoys in this race, but he is still one of the favorites to open the season with a win.
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Repeat last year’s race – Austria 2019
What will be your goal for the season?
At the end of the pre-season tests, the answer to this question was the second in the constructors’ standings and possibly an outside chance that Verstappen would come into the driver’s fight for the title. Now the revised calendar seems to be raising those hopes for Red Bull.
Austria has not only been a happy hunting ground in recent years, the location of the third race of the season – Hungary – was also often seen as a good opportunity for Red Bull.
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Verstappen was on pole there last year and narrowly lost to Lewis Hamilton due to the strategy in the race. The first three rounds therefore offer the team good opportunities to score many points on the board early on.
Red Bull also tended to get stronger the longer a season lasted and developed a car well. So there is every chance that they will start the season in a stronger position than if they had started in Australia. If they can use the first three races, winning the championship could become a realistic goal.