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Red Bull confirm Honda switch

Red Bull have confirmed they will switch engine suppliers from 2019 and begin a new era with Honda power units.

Speculation about the future of Red Bull’s deal with Renault emerged last season as the Austrian team struggled for pace and reliability.

Sister team Toro Rosso made the move to Honda for 2018 and the signs have been encouraging, with Pierre Gasley and Brendon Hartley securing three points finishes between them.

Having been impressed by the progress made by Toro Rosso, Red Bull have decided they too will use Japanese power, signing a deal for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

“This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s efforts to compete not just for grand prix wins but for what is always our goal – championship titles,” said team principal Christian Horner.

“We have always taken decisions such as this dispassionately and with only one criteria in mind – do we believe the outcome will allow us to compete at a higher level.

“After careful consideration and evaluation we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team.

“We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team Toro Rosso, and by the scope of their ambition, which matches our own.

“We look forward to working with Honda in the coming years and to racing together in pursuit of F1’s biggest prizes.”

The deal brings Red Bull’s partnership with Renault to an end, the pair having worked together since 2007, winning four drivers’ and four constructors’ titles between 2010 and 2013.

“We would like to thank Renault for the past 12 years, a period during which we experienced some incredible moments together,” added Horner.

“We have sometimes had our differences but Renault has always worked tirelessly and to the best of its ability to provide us with a competitive power unit. That is still the case today and we would like to thank the Renault team, and particularly the guys in our garage at every race, for their unstinting commitment and we look forward to ending our partnership on a high come the end of this season.

“Our focus for the rest of this year is still very much on delivering the best results possible in the 2018 Championship and we wish Renault Sport all the best for the future.”

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Red Bull reveal ´special edition´ livery on 2018 car

Red Bull have unveiled a striking “special edition” livery on their challenger for the 2018 season.

The team’s traditional dark blue colour scheme has been replaced by a mostly black design, which will be used on a test run by Daniel Ricciardo on Monday at Silverstone.

A ‘camouflaged’ paint-job disguises much of the new aerodynamic parts on the car, which may point to confidence that Ricciardo and Max Verstappen can muscle in on the fight with Mercedes and Ferrari in 2018.

Verstappen enjoyed two wins to Ricciardo’s one in 2017, though the Australian finished above his team-mate in the individual standings, after the Dutchman’s rotten run of luck at the front-end of the campaign.

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Marko plays down Red Bull’s title hopes

Red Bull’s head of driver development Dr Helmut Marko doesn’t believe that the energy drink-backed team is in a position to fight for the world championship.

In 2017, amid a shake-up of the aerodynamic regulations, Red Bull was tipped to take the challenge to Mercedes, who had dominated the sport for three years.

However, it failed to take the fight to the Silver Arrows and even slipped behind Ferrari, who sprung out of the gates in combat with Mercedes. Despite making some gains towards the end of the 2017 season, Marko doesn’t think Red Bull should enter 2018 expecting a title fight.

“I don’t think we’re in a situation where we can already go for the world championship,” Marko told Auto Motor und Sport. “The Renault engine should be more reliable and powerful in 2018, and we’ll be fighting with a competitive chassis at the outset.

“But Mercedes is producing a new engine, so the question is whether they’ll have an even bigger advantage. If the engine does what we’re promised, then we should be a lot closer to Mercedes.

“Adrian [Newey] saw that for the first time that we were able to beat Mercedes on our own and that you can race at the front when the engine is performing well.

“In the past we’ve always been stronger in the second half of the season. The analysis showed that we always tried to leave it as late as possible, but it doesn’t help to try and find a few hundredths every two weeks. It’s more important that you go into the season well prepared.”

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Red Bull reveals new logo with Aston Martin tie-up

New-look Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has unveiled its tweaked logo to incorporate the British manufacturer as it begins its title sponsor partnership.

New-look Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has unveiled its tweaked logo to incorporate the British manufacturer as it begins its title sponsor partnership in 2018.

Last September Red Bull confirmed its new title sponsor deal with Aston Martin which begins this year, strengthening the ties between the two brands having collaborated to produce the Aston Martin Valkyrie with Adrian Newey as chief designer.

Aston Martin branding is set to feature “prominently across the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team from 2018” which has led to speculation its car livery could incorporate a British racing green appearance and move away from the team’s purple look.

The new logo doesn’t include any colour change, with the background remaining the familiar Red Bull purple, with the Aston Martin typography placed above the Red Bull Racing logo. Red Bull are one of four teams set for a Formula 1 World Constructors’ name change in 2018 by changing to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.

Sauber will change to Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team after its rebranding deal, while McLaren and Toro Rosso have switched engine manufacturers to Renault and Honda respectively.

“Our Innovation Partnership with Aston Martin has been a pioneering project from day one,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner said in September. “Having conceived and created the remarkably successful Aston Martin Valkyrie together in 2016, we extended our relationship this year and are now delighted to further strengthen the partnership and see the team competing as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in 2018.

“In addition, more than 100 Aston Martin staff will service the new Advanced Performance Centre on our campus here in Milton Keynes and it will allow us to collaborate further with Aston Martin on special, equally innovative, new projects.”

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Horner says Red Bull will “continue to invest in young talent”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that the team will continue to invest in young drivers for the future.

Red Bull’s junior programme has produced the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

However, it now finds itself in a position where there is no driver available to make the jump into its junior Formula 1 team, Toro Rosso. Earlier this year, the energy drink-backed squad brought in Brendon Hartley to partner Pierre Gasly. Hartley was Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s test and reserve driver in 2010, and has signed a contract to race at Toro Rosso full-time in 2017.

At the end of the year, Niko Kari and Richard Verschoor will be dropped by the Red Bull programme. However, in 2018, Dennis Hauger (14), Jack Doohan (14) and two 13-year-old Britons Harry Thompson and Johnny Edgar will become Red Bull juniors.

“Red Bull has committed to young karters aged 13 or 14. We have some exciting talents in Formula 4,” Horner said.“We continue to invest in young talent, one of our drivers has won the Macau Grand Prix. (Daniel Ticktum). That shows that the program works, and if there is no room at Red Bull Racing, our talents get the chance to spread their wings.”

“We are not too reluctant to make them available to other teams, but Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley can stay where they are at Toro Rosso, to develop further. We can do what we have done with Carlos Sainz and make them available on loan. For us it’s all about having options and investing in talent and youth.”

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Red Bull developing early to avoid slow 2018 start, says Ricciardo

Red Bull have made an earlier start in developing their 2018 car to avoid another slow start to next year’s Formula One world championship, according to Daniel Ricciardo.

It was expected that Red Bull would be the biggest challengers to Mercedes’ dominance this season, but a sluggish start meant they have never been in contention for the title.

A late-season improvement, and a chassis that arguably outstrips all rivals in F1, has provided fresh hope of a renewed challenge next season.

Red Bull traditionally leave it late to design their new car allowing for more development time, but Ricciardo says the team are to try a new approach.

“I always feel our starts to the season have been slow particularly since I’ve been with the team but it’s, as far as I’m aware, not planned,” Ricciardo said in quotes reported by Autosport.

“I’m not sure why exactly. We definitely get stronger – it’s a nice trend to get better and better but we’d like to start better.

“I still don’t really know the answer to why that is.

“We always feel like we start on next year’s car early enough but maybe what we think is early isn’t early enough.

“I know for next year it’s been brought forward more than it was for this year.”

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Red Bull’s Ricciardo shines in Singapore practice

SINGAPORE- Daniel Ricciardo put on a dazzling display under the floodlights as Red Bull laid down a marker on the opening day of Singapore Grand Prix practice on Friday.

The Australian, who had set a record lap time during Friday’s opening 90-minute session, ended the day with an even quicker effort of 1 minute 40.852 seconds.

That was over 0.556 seconds faster than second placed team mate Max Verstappen’s best.

“I’m sure it will tighten up tomorrow, but I still expect we will be able to stay where we are,” said Ricciardo, who has finished second in Singapore for the past two years with the fastest race lap on both occasions.

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who is seeking his third successive victory, was third quickest ahead of Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas.

The pair were fourth and sixth respectively in the evening.

“We had a clean day and got through our sessions without problems. It was pretty hot out there, the conditions are pretty awesome to cope with, but the grip on the track is fairly good,” said Hamilton.

“We have still got some improvements to make with the car. Red Bull seem like they’re very strong and they’re thereabouts with Ferrari, so we’ve got some work to do. But nothing is out of reach.”

The Briton is three points clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with seven races remaining after leading Bottas to a one-two finish at the previous race in Monza.

The Singapore venue’s tight twists are expected to play to Ferrari and Red Bull’s strengths but the Italian team were off the pace.

Kimi Raikkonen, seventh in the evening, ended the day as the fastest Ferrari in ninth. Vettel, second in the opening session, was only 11th.

“I said the Ferrari could be a problem, and now it’s Red Bull,” Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda told Sky Sports television.

“Here, what I’ve seen today, Red Bull is outstanding. In the long runs they are one second quicker so they are really doing an incredible performance at the moment. For some reason Ferrari are slower, I don’t know why.”

Vettel hinted at the Ferrari’s potential speed when he briefly lit up the timing screens with the fastest first sector, but he aborted that lap after running into traffic and later nudged the wall.

He then focused on long-run race simulations.

Nico Hulkenberg went an impressive fifth-fastest for Renault, ahead of McLaren pair Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso.

McLaren and power-unit supplier Honda announced earlier that they were ending their partnership at the end of the season. The British-based team will switch to Renault next year, with Honda moving to Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso.

(Abhishek Takle)

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RED BULL AERO UPGRADE NOT A BIG DEAL – HORNER

Red Bull Racing are set to introduce what driver Daniel Ricciardo has described as a “significant” aero upgrade at the Hungarian Grand Prix, however Team Principal Christian Horner has been quick to quash the suggestion that it is that big a deal.

The Milton Keynes based squad had hoped to be able to take the fight to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari at Silverstone last weekend, but they were somewhat off the pace, the reasons behind which they are yet to fully understand.

Horner is of course eager for the cause to be established as quickly as possible, as he explained to Autosport recently.

“I think we felt that we were a bit off.

“I am not sure we got the most out of the car this weekend. We struggled a little bit in the low speed corners, so there is quite a bit to go and understand, analysis wise, why that is.”

Ricciardo started the British Grand Prix from nineteenth on the grid, having suffered a turbo failure during the first part of qualifying, and brilliantly made his way through the field, to finish fifth by the end of the race.

However, neither the Australian or team-mate Max Verstappen had the pace to get close to the top two teams, and following the event, Ricciardo made reference to a substantial upgrade in Hungary, which should be an opportunity to improve their performance.

Horner is playing down the significance of the update however, stating that it is just a planned progression.

“It is all part of the evolution.

“I wouldn’t call it significant. I would say it is again relatively subtle in terms of a constant process of trying to get performance on the car.”
(RACHEL HACK) (Octane Photographic Ltd)