Here we go again, another season of Formula 1 images starting in the best place on the calendar, Australia! You can relive the 2015 season opener after the break with our gallery of 89 images, all clickable to 2560px mega image sizing.
Red Bull Racing had a pretty ordinary time of it at the Australian Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo lost one of his four engines for the year during practice. Daniil Kvyat lunched a gearbox on the way to the starting grid and didn’t start the race.
Even junior outfit Toro Rosso suffered, with Max Verstappen forced into retirement with engine woes.
After previously having its own way for four years in succession the prospect of a second year with no world title is not pleasing the top brass at Red Bull Racing one little bit. In fact, you could say it’s tantrums all round. And the blame is being laid squarely at the feet of power unit supplier Renault.
“Across the four cars weâ€™ve had two engine failures, one within five laps, and a whole bunch of driveability issues, so itâ€™s not the start that Renault can afford to have,” Horner said.
“I think it masks so many things regarding corner entry, corner exit, degradation, slip control of the tyre,” Horner added. “Youâ€™re not able to drive the car properly. So you then start moving your brake balance around to try to compensate, so you are so far away from optimum. You start to lose temperature in brakes, and then the tyres arenâ€™t working as they should. Itâ€™s a spiralling effect.”
Meanwhile, there’s conflicting views on the long-term interest in Formula 1 held by Red Bull’s owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko is leading the charge there telling reporters in Melbourne: “We will evaluate the situation again [in the summer] as every year and look into costs and revenues.
“If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit.
“Yes, the danger is there that Mr Mateschitz loses his passion for F1.”
Predictably, and coming back to Renault, it’s the power unit regulations that are the sore point for Marko.
“These power units are the wrong solution for F1, and we would say this even if [Red Bull supplier] Renault were in the lead,” he claimed.
“The technical rules are not understandable, much too complicated, and too expensive.”
However, Cristian Horner denies a Red Bull departure is on the cards and he attempted to hose down rumours that Audi is willing to buy out Red Bull and, crucially, that Mateschitz is willing to sell.
“Youâ€™re wide of the mark. Thereâ€™s been statements from Dietrich to clarify that, Itâ€™s a non-issue,” Christian Horner told F1 reporter Adam Cooper.
There’s also talk that Renault might want to have its own factory team again, with Toro Rosso being the most likely match.
And all of this simply because Mercedes AMG has cleared the pack once again. Where was Mercedes when Red Bull was dominating and were they whinging and carrying on like pork chops that it just wasn’t fair?
Dominance in any sport, in particular in Formula 1, is cyclical. If Red Bull is prepared to stick around it has shown it has the capacity to reach the top.
It’s one thing to achieve success once. But coming back to succeed again after losing that dominance, that takes true courage and determination. And that’s how legends like Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have been made.
When Red Bull first revealed their RB11 in its eye catching camouflage testing livery they told us the final look for 2015 would be just as awesome. Yeah, not really chaps, you’ve just moved a few bits around from the 2014 car, taken some stripes away and made the purple a bit brighter.
Anyway, here’s what the 2015 Red Bull Racing F1 car will look like. Let’s hope Daniel Ricciardo can get across the line first a few more times this year too.
Lotus can leave the first Barcelona test with bragging rights after Romain Grosjean (1:24.067) set the fastest time of the week overnight. He comfortably outpaced Nico Rosberg (1:24.321) and Daniil Kvyat (1:24.941).
On Saturday Lotus was again the team on top, this time in the hands of Pastor Maldonado (1:24.348), who was also quickest on day 1 in Barcelona. Young punk Max Verstappen (1:24.739) showed the Toro Rosso day care centre that he’s got genuine pace, with a gap over one second back to Lewis Hamilton (1:26.076).
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo (1:24.574) set the best lap on Friday, narrowly edging out the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen (1:24.584). A touch further back was Felipe Massa (1:24.672).
A full list of times and total laps covered by each driver from the previous three days of testing can be seen below.
Day one of Formula 1 pre-season testing is currently underway in Jerez and without any fanfare or launch of any kind Daniel Ricciardo simply wheeled out of the pits and drove onto the circuit.
And with that the 2015 RB11 was revealed. Well, kind of.
As you can see, for reasons best known to them, Red Bull has chosen to run with a temporary camouflage livery. They do say that, obvious nose change aside, most changes to the car compared with the RB10 have been made under the skin.
Outwardly Red Bull has been rushed in its preparation of the RB11 and has only just had its chassis’ crash tests approved. Team boss Christian Horner is downplaying any such talk, of course.
“We’ve been pushing to the limit as usual,” Horner said. “We had a very tight timescale for the car to be prepared in time for the first test, but that’s normal in this team.
“If youâ€™re not on the limit youâ€™re not trying hard enough.”
Daniel Ricciardo is keen to build on his stellar 2014 season and is itching to get back on track.
“There was plenty of pressure on me last year to prove myself in a top team,” Ricciardo said. “I think everyone knows now what Iâ€™m capable of so Iâ€™m excitedâ€”excited to build on what we achieved in 2014 and ready to give Mercedes a good fight.”
Young Daniel will be joined by an even younger Daniil this year and the expectation will be that D1 is faster than D2. We look forward to seeing how this intra-team rivalry pans out.
Bruce Thomson is an all round good guy. We know this because he hits our inbox from time to time with some seriously cool automotive drawings. Over the last few days he’s been sharing with the world a few illustrations showing how he would like the F1 cars of 2015 to look.
If you follow those links then you’ll be treated to much larger versions of these images where you can further appreciate the detail.
Even better, there’s the promise of a Lotus and Williams concept to follow. Keep up the great work Bruce!