Saturday, April 20, 2024

Summer Break Review – Oracle Red Bull Racing

It has been the perfect first half of the season for Oracle Red Bull Racing with the the Milton Keynes based team winning all twelve FIA Formula 1 World Championship races.

Max Verstappen leads the way in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of teammate Sergio Pérez, but that doesn’t tell the whole story with the latter struggling to meet expectations in a number of races, leading to rumours that he could be replaced in the summer break. Luckily for Pérez, the rumours look to be false and he’ll keep his F1 seat for this season at least. The other side of the garage has been much calmer, barring a few spats with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, Verstappen has had an almost perfect start and is on course to once again rewrite the record books.

Unstoppable Verstappen

Verstappen has been unstoppable this season, winning ten races out of twelve. The Dutchman was challenged for the title in 2021, with a controversial ending handing him the title over Lewis Hamilton. While in 2022, Charles Leclerc challenged for the title early on before his challenge fell away. The difference in 2023 is that the competition has been limited, with Verstappen normally storming away into a big lead.

Low qualifying positions aren’t even enough to stop Verstappen – this was evident in Miami, where he started ninth following Leclerc’s crash in qualifying but the Dutchman managed to be in the lead by Lap 20, overtaking his teammate in the process. Even races he has failed to win in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, he has lost out to his teammate and could have been considered unlucky in both, which just shows how dominant he has been.

Although anything can happen in F1, Verstappen is very likely to win all the remaining races with Red Bull having the fastest car by a mile, and reliability being very good across the whole field in 2023.

Problems for Pérez

The start to the season was perfect for Pérez, two wins from four led to Championship challenger shouts and Pérez himself even admitted to being in a Championship fight with his teammate.

Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Pérez failed to convert a pole position into a win in the Miami Grand Prix, losing out to his teammate that started ninth. This was a turning point in the Mexican’s season. Following Miami, Pérez failed to reach Q3 five races in a row, which led to below par race results. Although he managed to fight his way through the pack on a number of occasions, it would’ve been much easier for the Mexican driver to qualifying on the front row alongside his teammate. The last two races before the break delivered third and second places, indicating that he may have put his bad form behind him, but it will certainly be an interesting end to the season for Pérez.

Red Bull need consistency alongside Verstappen, and although Pérez’s challenges haven’t cost the team, they surely won’t be best pleased with how his season has gone, and that could lead to the Mexican losing his seat in 2024.

Championship Secured?

Despite not mathematically securing them, Red Bull will be comfortable in both Championships once the season restarts with the Dutch Grand Prix. Team Principal Christian Horner will be concentrated on keeping the team grounded for the rest of the season but winning every single race in a season will be a record that Red Bull would love to achieve.

What’s Next for Red Bull?

Red Bull will be hoping for more of the same. The only thing that could improve for the team is the performance of Pérez, but the Mexican is still second in the Drivers’ Championship so his performances haven’t been too costly. However, from a personal standpoint, Pérez will need a good end to the season to secure his 2024 seat with the team, especially if Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull’s current third driver, impresses at Scuderia AlphaTauri.