2015 was a miserable year for Red Bull in Formula 1, and if Daniel Ricciardo’s recent comments are anything to go by, 2016 won’t start out much better.The Aussie driver finished a disappointing eighth in last year’s Drivers Championship as his team failed to win a single race for the first time since 2008 — culminating in Red Bull ending the Constructor Standings in fourth.
Their season was marred by controversy — Red Bull’s future in the sport was in doubt after they attempted to part ways with French engine supplier Renault, only for the two to agree on a new deal that would extend their partnership after the team couldn’t find anyone else to provide their engines for the upcoming season.
This is the worrying news for Red Bull fans, because Ricciardo has illustrated just how much he and teammate Daniil Kvyat were hobbled by Renault’s 2015 motors.
He believed their cars would have been better served by the more powerful Mercedes engines as they started to find form around the time of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Since Hungary, the car not only performed better, but it was easier to set up,” Ricciardo told Autosport.
“The signs were there at Silverstone, but Budapest was really where it turned.
“I’d honestly say from Budapest, if we had a Merc in the back we would’ve won a few races, to say the least.”
Red Bull tried to organise deals with Mercedes and other engine suppliers including Ferrari and Honda, but were turned down. Their Renault engines in 2016 will instead be badged as TAG Heuer.
While Ricciardo’s wish for more powerful engines will go unanswered, defending world champion Lewis Hamilton — of Mercedes — believes his team has another year of dominance ahead of them.
“There is at least another year of this strength we have,” Hamilton told Autosport.
“Of course there is a slight unknown because the car can shift. It could dip.
“But we have a much, much stronger foundation in this team and that is not going to be the case.
“I’m so confident that is not going to be the case.”
That doesn’t bode well for the Aussie and his colleagues, with Ricciardo also admitting part of his crew’s dismal 2015 was due to their inability to adapt to new regulations around the nose of F1 cars, with the FIA outlawing extended nose tips.
“When we did have the new nose/wing combination at Silverstone, that was when it started going better,” he said. “That was a big one.
“I know they went through a lot of noses and we tried a lot of combinations.
“That was probably something that we didn’t get on top of as soon as we could’ve done.”