March 1 2015 Latest news:
Michael Bailey, Formula One correspondent
Friday, June 20, 2014
Home track advantage doesn’t get any better than what Red Bull – and seemingly to a lesser extent, Toro Rosso – are going to experience this weekend.
• Pole position – Michael Schumacher: I’m sure we can all agree it’s fantastic news the German is out of his coma and intensive care. We wish him all the best with his recovery.
• Stalling – Ferrari: The famous marque continued its calls for sorting out where F1 has gone wrong – maybe they should replace the word ‘F1’ with ‘Ferrari’ and get on with sorting that?
Given the fizzy drinks company seems to have its longer term commitment to Formula One regularly questioned, we’re going to see their biggest statement yet this weekend that Red Bull don’t plan on going anywhere for a while.
The Austrian Grand Prix returns this weekend after an 11-year absence, and to the same venue – if not the same name.
Spielberg’s A1-Ring is now the sparkling new, redeveloped Red Bull Ring. A huge investment by the company into a circuit that looks better than ever.
Given it’s been so long since the track appeared in Formula One, Red Bull have never enjoyed success there – but you imagine it’s one of their big targets for the entire year.
"Daniel has been massively impressive this year. He has certainly exceeded all our expectations"
Certainly the boys at Milton Keynes and Faenza should know every inch of the track, given their Austrian owners brought it back from the depths.
Where Red Bull are now heading is an interesting discussion.
After seasons of domination, the team are having to work far harder for their points this season and may already be too far behind Mercedes to enjoy any silverware come double points in Abu Dhabi.
Adrian Newey has his new contract with the company – but it will take him away from the F1 front line after this season.
Remarkably, Sebastian Vettel is already fighting for his reputation, as Daniel Ricciardo upsets the applecart – something that may yet prompt the German to move away.
These are big years coming up for the team – but what they can do this weekend is enjoy the race they effectively built. Or at least, rebuilt.
“The track would have died, more or less,” said Red Bull owner Helmut Marko, had the company not bought it and pushed for it to be more than just a club racing venue.
This weekend will prove the arrival of Red Bull’s latest piece of excellent F1 business.
• What has been an awful year so far for Caterham threatened to get even worse this week, when rumours did the rounds the Hingham-based marque wouldn’t even make it to compete in Spielberg this weekend.
Owner Tony Fernandes settled those fears on Twitter, saying: “Caterham F1 will be racing in Austria. There is no question.”
The problem is, the sheer number of rumours cannot be doing anyone at Hingham or Leafield any favours, given last month the suggestion was the whole company was being sold.
As for on the track, the team is in desperate need of a boost – it can’t come soon enough.