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Hard times

11th September 2012

A double DNF.

Now there’s something you don’t read about that often in Formula 1 these days, and you certainly rarely see it relating to one of the sport’s marquee teams.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber’s 2012 Italian Grand Prix will not go down as one of Milton Keynes-based Red Bull Racing’s standout performances – but maybe, just maybe, a few bad results will be the final piece in the puzzle to make the reigning world champions the perfect F1 crew.

Don’t agree? Let me explain.

From the team’s inception in late 2004, the building blocks of success quickly gathered. Results were encouraging at first, but with the rapid recruitment of top-level guys from up and down the F1 grid a stratospheric rise to success quickly gained momentum. Once Adrian Newey’s genius was in full swing there really was no stopping them.

Things have changed of late.

Christian Horner’s pre-grid 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix interview on SkyF1 perfectly illustrated just how much pressure the champion team is now under. The usually perfectly composed Horner – upon being questioned about the outlawing of just about all the team’s ‘trick’ parts – barked back at the mic, finishing off with a spiky retort that “Sebastian didn’t like it [the controversial Hockenheim spec] anyway.”

Of course two years of (seemingly) constant denials of foul play, political wranglings relating to flexi-wings, tyre camber rates, holes in the floor, hand-adjusted ride heights, engine mapping and off-throttle hot-blowing, etc, etc, are going to have an effect (especially when they’re banned) on just about any wannabe politician.

The making of an F1 team is surely down to how they deal with difficult and trying times and Red Bull are no different to any other.

The tight-knit and very cocksure crew who work on the RB8s have – for the most part – only really known success. Sure, the team didn’t start winning until 2009 but the curve had generally been an upward one, so now is when they’ll be tested.

Tested by the might of Maranello and the MTC.

As Ferrari and particularly McLaren bring the force of their engineering excellence and many years of unrivalled experience – of both good and bad times – to bear, Red Bull need to prove their worth and step up to the mark.

Newey, of course, is brilliant at what he does but particularly strong when F1 car and engine rules change. His ability to exploit loopholes and regulation shortcomings is mighty, so with swingeing changes due for 2014, the RB10 might just be the car for Red Bull’s renaissance.

Personally I don’t think Horner and his crew are finished winning with the RB8 just yet.

Time will tell….

 

Please now take a few minutes to enjoy my pictures from the 2012 Italian Grand Prix by clicking here.

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