After predicting the fate of 2015's top three runners, namely, Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams, Rach F1's Matthew Gannon turns his attention to Red Bull, who are likely to endure another tough year in Formula 1.
Constructors Championship - 6th.
Red Bull endured a tough season last year. A lack of power meant they were left with very few tracks where they could exploit the true potential of their solid chassis.
In the last 12 months a few things have changed. Most notably, the fall out with Renault that now leaves them as a customer team rather than a works outfit as before. This means Red Bull will likely receive engine upgrades much later than the factory Renault squad.
Sixth place may seem harsh on the four time champions. However, when we look back to 1999 when Renault left the sport, Benetton had a rebadged Renault called Playlife; Williams, likewise, had Mecachrome, another rebadged Renault engine. All the Tag-Heuer engine is, is a rebadged Renault power unit. And Renault is unlikely to make major advancements this year, having set a long timeframe to return to the forefront of the grid.
Daniel Ricciardo - 8th.
The Honey Badger might spend this season with a car that gives him nothing to smile about, however, that won't stop the cheesy grinned Aussie from showcasing his teeth. This year, however, any podium finishes will be at the lowpower tracks where the guarantee of a good chassis can propel him up the order. In contrast, the power-hungry tracks will be a struggle and ultimately expecting much higher up the standings will be a dream too far.
Daniil Kvyat - 12th.
The young Russian is not a huge way off Ricciardo's pace, but that difference will prove crucial in 2016. Like Ricciardo, he will have the power struggles, but unlike the Australian, he doesn't seem to be as decisive in overtaking and that could be crucial in a season where the Red Bull is likely to be a car down the lower reaches of the speed traps. Kvyat will show his temperament and amid charging Toro Rosso drivers, the comparisons with Ricciardo will be a large part of how defining his campaign this year will be.
Pre season notes
The most notable thing was the gap between the drivers. Ricciardo finding over three quarters of a second on Kvyat as well as producing more laps. The Red Bull seems to be in a tight midfield battle. It's a dead certainty this will be a tough season until they find a better engine. However, the fact of the matter is they will need to make the best of it and exploit their solid chassis to the maximum to eke out every last point and every last second to make the season as strong as it can be."
by Matthew Gannon