2017 F1 Preview: Red Bull Racing

When it comes to Formula One, the smart money is on Red Bull Racing in 2017.

This is the year to beat AMG Petronas.  Nico Rosberg has retired, and has been replaced by Valleri Bottas. And they still have Lewis Hamilton.  But…Rosberg and Hamilton is to Formula One what Kobe/Shaq, was for the NBA.  Or like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews for the NHL.  You get it.

Mercedes will be a difficult fight.  But minus Rosberg, this may be the year to knock out the champ.  And Red Bull Racing is that scrappy contender.

The Red Bull Racing factory is a hive of activity all year round as the team seeks to build a car which can bring home more F1 driver and constructor titles.

After an encouraging 2016 season where Daniel Ricciardo, new recruit Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat secured two race wins and 14 further podiums, the designers, engineers and mechanics are determined to give Daniel and Max an even better car.

From the initial design through to final production, though, the process of creating and constructing a new Formula One car is a hugely complex task especially when you have to factor in a number of new rule changes for 2017.

Unlike previous years, the brains behind the cars have had to think even more outside the box in order to meet the strict FIA requirements so they can take their place on the grid.

Thousands of designs for thousands of parts have been created, tested and modified to ensure that the team has a car that can challenge right from March’s Australian Grand Prix opener in Melbourne.

The new RB13 should give team boss Christian Horner and his two talented drivers an excellent chance of breaking the Mercedes title domination.

Here is a taste of how the brilliant team operating away from the paddock spotlight work together to build a car worthy of the Red Bull name back at The Factory.

 

Long, painstaking and technical are just a few words that could be used to describe the process of conceptualising, designing and producing a new Formula One car.
And if you want to see an F1 engineer shudder, just utter the words new technical regulations.

The skill, patience and knowledge that goes into a new project like this is mind boggling, but we’ve scratched the surface and taken a tour of Red Bull Racing’s HQ to see how they’re going about getting the new RB13 ready for the 2017 season.

 

It doesn’t matter how many seasons go by, how many races get ticked off successive calendars or how many test sessions whirl by, the start of a new season is always a time when the nerves start to jangle.

Twenty stops await, a marathon set of thrilling sprints at some of the planet’s finest racetracks, in some of the world’s great cities. And first up, it’s Melbourne, traditional season-opener and beloved destination of the whole paddock. With a great vibe, great weather (usually), great people, great food and drink and more often than not some really great racing, Melbourne’s undoubtedly one of the season’s highlights. To say the next five or six days are going to be among the most intense, draining and, yep, thrilling of the season for Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t quite do justice to just how thoroughly mind-frying the Aussie’s home race can be.

So how does the Honey Badger dial down the stress and what does Max Verstappen have to say about Melbourne?

“It’s always good to be back on home soil and enjoy a bit of sunshine after winter testing,” Ricciardo told us. “But it’s also super busy and full on, the week for me starts on Monday and doesn’t stop until Sunday night. I try and attend as many events as I can but I’m still there to do a job.”

When it’s getting too much for Daniel he simply cranks up the music. And as he prepares for this most massive of weekends, Daniel put together a very exclusive Spotify playlist of some of the key tunes he’ll be listening to in the build-up to the Australian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen had his Formula 1 debut in Melbourne in 2015 and has enjoyed coming to Melbourne ever since. As most eyes will be on his team-mate Daniel for the upcoming days, he might have more time to enjoy Melbourne. “The first race is always exciting, as you never really know where you are in terms of performance with the car because everything is so new,” said the Dutchman. “This is reflected in the paddock too; it’s a refreshing feeling. Being Daniel’s home grand prix he obviously gets a lot of support, which is very nice for him.”

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Sebastian James

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