In Formula One, every team has an ace up its sleeves before start of the season. After preseason testing at Jerez and Barcelona, Red Bull seems to have befuddled most fans. For starters, its camouflage livery was nice but no one could really tell whether the RB 11 met expectations or not.
What’s Red Bull’s Game Plan?
So, what is the game plan for Red Bull considering its full race weekend simulations did not set fireworks as expected? The best way to look at it is what Red Bull already has in its possession of value and this is obviously Daniel Ricciardo.
It might seem too risky for a team to depend only on a driver’s talent, but it has been done many times and worked. Indeed, Ricciardo singlehandedly saved face for Infiniti Red Bull in 2014. You have to give it to the Australian considering he was not that experienced when he won three Formula One races in 2014 and had the same car as Vettel who was the defending champion.
Short Background of Ricciardo’s Racing History
The racing roots: Like most F1 drivers, the Australian started racing at the age of 9 years with TKC before moving to Formula Ford and BMW, Formula Renault, Formula Three, Formula Renault 3.5 Series before landing in F1. Along the way, he won the European Title in Western European Cup at Formula Renault and the British Formula Three title.
Formula One entry: Ricciardo started off with Red Bull in 2009 at young drivers’ tests and later as a reserve driver for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Later he was contracted to Hispanic Racing (HRT) in 2011 and later moved officially to Toro Rosso for the 2012-2013 seasons.
Red Bull and real racing streak: The real Ricciardo started proving himself once Red Bull officially gave him a top seat alongside Sebastian Vettel. It was baptism by fire but from the first race in Melbourne, it was obvious the Australian was enjoying himself. His first win came at the Canadian GP becoming only the 4th Australian driver to win an F1 race. Hungarian GP and Belgian GP followed confirming Ricciardo’s arrival to true racing.
Can Ricciardo Deliver for Red Bull?
Well, the big question now that Red Bull has signed up the Australian is whether he can actually deliver the goods. To appreciate the reason this ever-smiling driver is going to make it big in F1, sample this:
Smart racing respect: After racing Alonso at the German GP, Alonso was quick to praise the new driver as very smart and respectful. That coming from the most experienced driver on the 2015 grid means a lot.
Three opportunistic wins: If Ricciardo’s wins in 2014 can be described using a single word, it has to be opportunistic. This is not a bad thing in F1 and in fact you need it on some tricky overtaking situations such as Monaco and Australia.
Aggressive and great overtaking skills: According to BBC pundits, these are definite qualities of a star in waiting.
With RB11 being cited as a competitor to Williams and an improved Ferrari, there is no denying the team can confidently lay its hopes on Ricciardo’s talent and expertise.