Red Bull F1 team expects ‘tough year’


Rob Harris

AP Sports Writer

LONDON — Even as Red Bull revealed new livery and talked of a new era for the Formula One season, a reminder of last season’s struggles wasn’t far away.

It was right next to team principal Christian Horner in an east London warehouse.

The refreshed Red Bull Racing colors were merely painted over last year’s car — the one that couldn’t win a race and was only good enough to secure fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Horner went through the motions talking up the significance of the redesign, saying: “It’s a new beginning for the team, that’s why we had a clean sheet of paper with the livery.”

But talk of a “new chapter” wasn’t mirrored in Horner’s forecast for the new season, which begins on March 20 in Melbourne.

“This year is going to be a tough year certainly in the early part of the year,” Horner told The Associated Press. “But we are expecting to make serious strides during the season.”

The four-time constructors’ champion has fallen behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams, coming off its first season since 2008 without a race win. The four consecutive titles were achieved from 2010-2013 with Sebastian Vettel, who is now preparing for his second season at Ferrari.

For a second successive season, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat will be on the grid for Red Bull.

After winning three races in 2014, Ricciardo only made the podium twice last year.

“It’s testing — I felt I dealt with it a lot better in the second half of the year,” the Australian told the AP. “If you get frustrated not only can it hinder you as a driver … but it can have a negative effect on people around the team. It’s managing so many things, that’s part of the sport.

“That’s probably where you separate the good from the great as well: How they deal with the outside factors.”

While Ricciardo acclaimed the “funky and modern” style of the car, he will be judged on results of the 21 races.

“If you can’t win, as long as you look good that’s the second thing you want to do,” he said. “I obviously have faith and optimism it will be better. How much better it’s only guess work for now.

“But I think we can get closer to more regular podiums and hopefully get back in the winners’ column.”

Rob Harris

AP Sports Writer

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