The very public war of words between Renault and Red Bull Racing has subsided for now. The high tide mark appeared to be Renault Sport F1’s CEO accusing their customer team of ‘lying’ and not admitting that problems with the RBR chassis was contributing to poor performance on track.
Today Daniel Riccardo reveals that the new integrated brake design for the RB11 has been problematic and the team have reverted to their 2014 configuration following obvious problems during the last race in Malaysia.
“The main points from Malaysia were that we had a lot of brake issues and overheating at the front of the car,” commented Ricciardo.
“So we’ve reverted back on quite a few things and even to stuff from last year, which we knew was more efficient”.
Yet the smiling driver dubbed as the ‘Colgate kid’ doesn’t appear convinced these retrograde fittings are the solution to the problems. The best Ricciardo could offer was, “It’s obviously older, but it doesn’t mean it’s not better.”
The Aussie practically admitted that the issues which saw both Red Bull cars finish behind the Toro Rosso drivers in Sepang, were specifically related to RB11 design issues.
“I think with a weekend going the way it should for us, we should be back in front of Toro Rosso,” said Ricciardo.
“In Malaysia we had quite a few other problems limiting some performance for us, but we’ve rectified all of that for this weekend and have a few aero updates that should hopefully see us back in a more competitive proposition.
“The wind tunnel always pulls out some nice numbers, so let’s see what it does on track, but the team’s obviously done quite a lot since Malaysia to rectify some issues and get us further up the grid.”
The pressure is now squarely on the shoulders of Horner, Newey et al – as Franz Tost rather nonchalantly stated last week. “Our target is not to finish ahead of Red Bull; our target is to finish at the end of the season in fifth place in the constructors’.
“Whoever is behind us, I don’t care”.
Another weekend which sees the RB11 running behind the little bull team will increase the speculation that ‘post Newey’, Red Bull Racing will be at best a mid-field team.