Daniel Ricciardo is confident Red Bull will rebound from the disappointment at the Austrian Grand Prix next week at Silverstone.
The British Grand Prix has been the spiritual home race for the Milton Keynes based team and the high-speed layout has often suited the Adrian Newey designed cars.
After winning his first race in Canada, Ricciardo and Red Bull’s season went from the ultimate high to the ultimate low, as he was the only one of the four Red Bull-backed cars to reach the chequered flag in Spielberg – and could only do so in eighth place.
Lack of power
The four-time consecutive champions have ordered an investigation as to why their race at the Red Bull Ring went so horribly wrong but from the Australian’s point of view it merely came down to the issue that has blighted the team all season - a lack of power.
“This year, as everyone knows, we’re losing time on the straights but recovering it in the corners and there are not enough corners for the amount of straight at the Red Bull Ring,” he told the team’s official website.
Also playing a factor are the much tighter aerodynamic regulations which Newey has already admitted is restricting the areas of development. As a result the team is dependent on engine supplier Renault to improve its V6 power unit in a bid to close the gap to the rampant Mercedes.
But as Ricciardo also pointed out, those teams behind Red Bull are also making gains.
“Another factor was that our competitors seem to have found a bit more and we weren’t getting as much back on them in the corners as we have been previously,” he said, reflecting on the Austria performance.
“So, we’ve got a few things to look at. [In short] we expected to be quicker… and were optimistic about being in the top five and maybe sneaking onto the podium but we simply didn’t have the pace. But that’s racing: you have highs and lows.”
Looking ahead to the British Grand Prix, Ricciardo may not have quite the following at Silverstone that his fellow Aussie Mark Webber did, but the man from Perth admits it is still one of his favourite venues on the calendar.
“I’m always optimistic going to Silverstone because I love the circuit but yes, it should be a circuit that suits us a little bit more [than Austria],” he said.
Asked for his prediction as to where Red Bull will be, it seems Ricciardo is expecting the Austria result to be a mere dip and he and team-mate Sebastian Vettel should be back fighting to be best of the rest behind Mercedes.
“We’ve got to learn a few things about our performance but once we do that, I think we’ll be fighting in the top five and trying to get on the podium,” he added.
As Ricciardo continues to lead the Red Bull charge some focus is being put on the troubles being faced by his world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
The German endured his second retirement in three races in Austria after early electrical issues left him floundering at the back of the field.
Vettel’s tally of three DNF’s in 2014 is the same number as he had had in the previous three years and the always outspoken Canadian Jacques Villeneuve believes its possible Ricciardo is becoming the new poster boy at Red Bull.
“Sebastian is a four-time World Champion who has earned the titles won, but now Red Bull Racing is treating him like they were Mark Webber,” said the 1997 champion.
“They seem to have decided to focus only on Daniel Ricciardo. Now they want to ‘kill’ Sebastian because the German is not able to give another image of Red Bull,” Villeneuve told OmniCorse.it.
The former Williams and BAR driver therefore believes it is time for Vettel to leave Red Bull and take on a fresh challenge elsewhere.
“They are always looking for something new and are now dedicated to Ricciardo. Vettel is finished there and needs to change teams,” he claimed.
“Who said the door is closed at Ferrari?”
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