2010 F1 season preview: Red Bull

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Red Bull leapt from the midfield to the sharp end in 2009. Can they go one step further in 2010?

Car design

Red Bull missed the first week’s testing while Adrian Newey put the finishing touches to the RB6. The team were the pace setters at the end of 2009 and he believed spending more time getting the design fundamentals right was more important than going to the first test in Valencia.

Other teams’ designers took a cue from the high nose of Newey’s 2009 car but none of them attempted to replicate the tightly packaged rear bodywork and pullrod suspension arrangement which made the RB5 distinctive.

Newey has persevered with the approach on his 2010 car while also making room for the double diffuser and enlarged fuel tank. But having chosen to miss three days’ testing, and lost more time because of rain at the later tests, Red Bull have put less than 5,000km on their car while the likes of Ferrari have managed more than 7,000.

Driver line-up

In the final races of 2009 Sebastian Vettel was often the fastest man on the track. Unfortunately too many mistakes early in the season compounded later by unreliability scuppered his title chances.

But he clearly improved throughout the season and is maturing into a more complete driver. In his second season at Red Bull he will be a championship contender if the car is up to the task.

In a recent interview Mark Webber mentioned he was still not back at full fitness after breaking his leg prior to last season.

He’ll need every ounce of strength to stay on terms with Vettel. As Webber’s contract only runs to the end of this year, and Red Bull’s rally team recently took Kimi Raikkonen on board, some people are already putting two and two together and claiming Raikkonen will partner Vettel next year.

It’s far too early to say that with any confidence, but it will surely be preying on Webber’s mind this year.


Obviously, big things are expected from the RB6’s performance. By the end of last year its predecessor had developed from being a car that was particularly suited to aerodynamically demanding tracks to one that was just at home around Abu Dhabi’s slow, tight bends.

Red Bull are also one of few teams to enjoy stability in their driver line-up.

Although they tried (and failed) to switch engine suppliers to Mercedes over the winter, their Renault units might have one thing going for them.

Last year their fuel consumption figures were lower than their rivals, which could be a boon now the cars have to carry all their fuel with them from the start of a race.


Unfortunately the Renault engine proved lacking in another key area: power.

All the engine manufacturers will have been doing what they can within the engine freeze restrictions to improve economy without compromising output but Renault have lagged behind with this kind of development since the freeze was introduced.

Reliability was also a problem for the team last year, which often manifested itself in engine failures. These are the main areas the team needs to make progress in to finish one position in 2010 than they did last year.

Poll: championship position

How will Red Bull get on this year? Pick where you think they’ll finish in the championship below.

Where will Red Bull finish in the 2010 Constructors' Championship?

  • 13th (0%)
  • 12th (0%)
  • 11th (0%)
  • 10th (0%)
  • 9th (0%)
  • 8th (0%)
  • 7th (0%)
  • 6th (0%)
  • 5th (2%)
  • 4th (19%)
  • 3rd (32%)
  • 2nd (25%)
  • 1st (20%)

Total Voters: 1,412

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See all the articles in the F1 Fanatic 2010 Season Preview

2010 F1 season

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “2010 F1 season preview: Red Bull”

  1. 1st, if the car is reliable.

    1. Which is why I voted 2nd !

      1. Same, I think they could just miss out to McLaren.

        I really hope they can do it though and get the WCC and the WDC with Vettel. If not I’d like to see Hamilton :)

      2. 3rd, behind Ferrari and Mclaren.

        1. 1st RBR then either ferrari or Mclaren…sorry I had to edit that for you :p

    2. In particular, the engine.

      I’m eager to see what Vettel can do this season, and I’ve always been a fan of Weber. One of my favorite teams.

    3. 1st, but I know it’s my wishful thinking prevailing over logic

  2. I’m not convinced that Redbull will be able to develop like Ferrari, McLaren an eventually Mercedes, I’m also not convinced that the gremlins won’t continue to upset their title hopes.

    Also they did not have to fight for their second, it was essentaily thrown to them. An seeing as they had the fastest car on the grid since Britain last year they really should have won the title, it wasn’t just reliability that finished for them, the team hasn’t quite reached full maturity. I feel they could well win races but I’m not certain they are quite McLaren or Ferrari yet. Redbull are a team that are good enough for titles but not quite ready, knowing how to win is half the battle.

    Redbull will win titles, of this I am certain, but not this year, one of the consitant engineers reports was that the RB6 isn’t the step foward the team hoped for,I’m not sure what differance the upgrade made but I don’t think they could outdevelop a team like McLaren yet.

    1. Completely agree. Again IIRC.

      On the engine debate. The Renault did seem to be the most fuel efficient. This might very well compensate for the lack of power. During the race at least. It might hurt them in qualifying though.

  3. vettel 2010 WDC !!!!
    red bull 2010 WCC!!!!
    it’s my bet

  4. I, too, agree that the Renault engine might be the ultimate pitfall of the RB6. The engine might be good in regards to efficiency, but it is still lacking fundamental horsepower. Mercedes and Ferrari might have an engine advantage, and I believe this season will be tough for RedBull because it doesn’t look like the RB6 have a great aerodynamics advantage over the two.

    I really hope Seb can win this year though. Let’s just hope he gets pole and/or consistent front row starts and then drive like he did in Monza 2008.

    What do you think about the aero advantage of RB6 versus the likes of MGP W01, F10 or the MP4-25?

    Recently there were reports saying that Red Bull boss have dismissed rumours regarding Kimi joining Red Bull in the future. I personally believe SV might be on his way to Mercedes eventually? And when this happens, Kimi will join Red Bull. I don’t think Red Bull will drop Mark without a good reason, he had just started winning races and I believe Red Bull will keep this momentum going so the two drivers can score good points for the constructors championship.

    1. I think it is too early to speculate on what the driver movements will be at Red Bull after this season. I think the Raikkonen coming back to F1 with Red Bull rumours are just wishful thinking from his fans at this stage, as he drives for Red Bull in rallying with Red Bull F1 currently rated as one of the best teams and then Webber’s contract is up at the end of 2010. Raikkonen may well decide he loves rallying and doesn’t want to come back, or Webber may have a stellar season and so get his contract renewed.

      Long term I think Mercedes will try to sign Vettel but then he may decide to either stay at Red Bull or go elsewhere if he thinks the Mercedes is not the best option at the time.

      Of course there will also probably be another “next big thing” on the scene when these seats are available, it could well be Hulkenberg if he impresses at Williams.

  5. I voted 3rd, but I think they will be close with Ferrari and McLaren.

    I think the key to Red Bull’s season could be the reliability of the RB6 as a whole not just the Renault engine as they should be okay for outright pace and developments over the season. The experience gained last year with their first wins and being involved in a title race can mean they are better off as a team than 12 months ago.

    As for the drivers again the experience of last season should mean they are both prepared this time round, and even if Webber is still not 100% fit he should be in better shape than last year.

  6. 2nd in WCC

    But Vettel takes the WDC

  7. i’ve already placed bets on f1 at the bookies. webber to win WDC is one of my bets. anyway, i voted 4th here…

  8. 4th.
    Driver line up isn’t as strong as the other big 3. Seb’s great but he made too many mistakes last year when he probably should have been champino with RBR WCCs.
    Renault engine will cost them. They may start strong but I think ttheir fight will eventually fade.

  9. I don’t see Red Bull on the sharp end of the grid this year. But then again last year, I thought the would be at the back and look where they ended up.

    By the way, it’s nice to be back on this website after a few months.

  10. Voted 2nd, behind Ferrari. Vettel should win some races, but you have to assume that Ferrari have gone all-out in this year’s design, or Alonso would not have signed w/ them.

  11. I voted 1st ahead of Ferrari/ McLaren.. :D

  12. I’d say Mclaren then Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull.

    But the top four are so difficult to place I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the complete opposite order.

    McLaren and Ferrari have the resources and experience, Mercedes has Brawn, Schumacher (not necessarily better than the others as a driver, but surely better as a developer) and improved monetary resources, and Red Bull have Newey.

  13. It’s interesting that in all three articles 3rd place had the most votes.

    1. What do you mean “all three”? The no 1 spot got by far the most votes for McLaren.

      Mercedes and Red Bull are my picks for 3 and 4 so I guess most people agree to that (with Red Bull having a slight advantage).

      I would guess that most people will vote number 1 again for Ferrari

  14. 1st then Ferrari

  15. Losing Willis wasn’t profitable

  16. We want turbos
    3rd March 2010, 21:25

    Who voted them as 13th??

    1. seems as if people generally consider McLaren and Ferrari to be strong with Merc bit behind but with big upgrades coming for Bahrain? all very plausable but i still cant see the redbulls on the 4th row even with the renault engine i went for 3rd

  17. How could 3 people think they will finish 13th?
    Shame on you!

  18. Webber will out score Vettel this year, but probably not win the WDC. Webber is just better at wheel to wheel racing which given the strong compeition this year and no refueling, confident wheel to wheel racing will be more important then ever.
    Tipping Daniel Riccardo to replace Webber but maybe in 2 yrs after 1 yr extension to Webber.

    1. CovertGiblets
      4th March 2010, 10:22

      I agree. I’m not yet convinced that Vettel can race. He reminds me a little of Coulthard. Excellent out front, but not really that good when in the mix. The question is.. can Vettel win races from anywhere other than pole?

  19. Trust me the RBR will be a bullet, they were sandbagging all thru testing, the problem was they were still near on the fastest with bricks and sand and extra fuel on board while testing!

    But to be sensible, tyre wear is the only concern. Not the hard but soft compound.

  20. No way Kimi will come into the team while Vettel is there. He didn’t cope well when Massa started to outpace him, and he wouldn’t want his (some would say unwarrented) halo of greatness damaged any more by being whipped 7/10 by the kid. Besides, he made enough money out of his stint at Ferrari to keep him in toys for a lifetime, why bother when he’ll have more fun rallying. Win that, and that will really impress me.

  21. 4th, I hope the Renault engine is both reliable & powerful.I hope Mark perform well this year,I think without him Red Bull will be incomplete.

  22. Sush Meerkat
    4th March 2010, 8:33

    [blockquote][b]I found out an interesting footnote concerning the Renault engine. We asked why Webber had not taken the opportunity to put a new engine in his Red Bull when he started from the pit lane in Japan. Apparently the Renault engine loosens up and becomes more powerful after its first few-hundred kilometres.[/b][/blockquote]

    The above is from Ted Kravitz’ blog, the Renault engine isn’t that bad!

    While Ferrari powerplants lose power over time, the Renault seems to gain it.


    1. So they will probably race last years engines all season blasting away the competition getting stronger and stronger every race :-)

      Until Ross Brawn and Mercedes file complaints and some rule to fight it.
      But first tehy seem to concentrate on the McLaren wings and not too worried about the exhaust blown double diffuser of the RB6.

  23. I’m slightly bewildered by the three people who seem to believe that Red Bull will finish 13th out of 12 constructors.

    1. i think people vote 13th when they don’t want to vote/don’t know their opinion and just want to see the results!

  24. 3rd or 4th

    drivers and car isn’t good enough to challenge the top

  25. Overall this is the best looking car on the grid. Adrian Newey should be knighted for his sensational contributions to motorsport…

Comments are closed.