Daniel Ricciardo, RB launch, Las Vegas, 2024

Ricciardo targets top five finishes in the first half of the season for RB

Formula 1

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Daniel Ricciardo says RB can target higher finishing positions from the start of the year than it managed throughout the whole of last season.

The team, which competed as AlphaTauri last year, has drawn more heavily from the design of sister outfit Red Bull following its rebranding for 2024. RB launched its new car, the RB01, in Las Vegas yesterday.

Ricciardo is going into his first full season since driving for McLaren in 2022. He returned to F1 in the middle of last year with his current team and said them made good progress as the year went on.

“The way we developed the car through the tail end of last season, we definitely found some things that I think at first worked really well for me, and then Yuki [Tsunoda] as well I think found also the strengths in it with his driving style, obviously having a good Abu Dhabi,” he told the official F1 channel. “So a lot to stay pretty upbeat about coming into the start.”

In addition to its latest rebranding, RB has also made several major personnel changes. Peter Bayer arrived as CEO last year, Laurent Mekies was appointed team principal at the beginning of the season, and the team has attracted former Alpine sporting director Alan Permane plus the FIA’s Tim Goss to strengthen its management.

Ricciardo said this is part of a new era for the team, which is now expected to be more of a competitor in its own right rather than simply a training ground for Red Bull’s junior drivers.

“There’s a lot of new personnel, some big partners coming on board,” he said. “Obviously the team has always taken itself seriously, but I feel like this is another step up now. It’s no longer just a platform for Red Bull Racing. It’s a time for us to fight at the front of the midfield.

“Of course, you speak in the team, some people are encouraged and optimistic and then others are ‘let’s just wait ’til we get it on track’ so you never know. And that’s the truth. And even if the team was super-excited, I would be like, guys, let’s just wait ’til we put it on track in Bahrain.

“But I like what’s happened, the changes that have taken place. I feel like there’s something about the team, the mindset’s a little bit different. Kind of like a point to prove, I would say.”

Ricciardo scored the team’s best result of last season with seventh place in the Mexican Grand Prix. He believes the team can target better results from the start this year.

“I would say top fives should certainly be a target and then if we get into that position then maybe some podiums present themselves,” he said. “Of course we want to win but I think we made steps last year, let’s make a few more steps.

“But, do I think top five results are on the table and could they be on the table in the first half of the season? I’d like to think so, absolutely.”

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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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19 comments on “Ricciardo targets top five finishes in the first half of the season for RB”

  1. It’s alkst like they’re anticipating that copying redbull is near certainly going to push gem right up the grid. Can’t imagine the rest of the teams will like it

    1. Yup, I’m amazed they’ve been allowed to get away with it. There was that article the other day about how the manufacturing department is making all the components for both cars. How can it not be argued that they are able to spend twice as much and improve twice as fast, for the benefit of their primary team, as any other outfit. It’s not even like they’re just selling the components on as is with Ferrari-Haas or Merc-Aston, but one shop is fully manufacturing with complete knowledge two different cars, what works or doesn’t on either and what can be improved on both

      If the outcome of this Horner investigation is that he spins off VisaRB as a separate entity and true customer team. Then really, that will be the best for everyone I feel. I just can not understand how one team has been allowed to run two.

      1. Stephen Taylor
        9th February 2024, 15:26

        The Horner inverstigation and the Red Bull second team issue are not linked at all.

        1. Stephen Taylor
          9th February 2024, 15:27

          * investigation

        2. Did not imply they were, still a solve to both problems IF it has anything to do with an internal power struggle. Not saying that’s the case either.

      2. Stephen Taylor
        9th February 2024, 15:38

        *investigation.

      3. notagrumpyfan
        9th February 2024, 18:13

        I just can not understand how one team has been allowed to run two.

        I wouldn’t call Haas and Ferrari ‘one team’.
        And Racing Point limited their usage of Mercedes IP parts to a minimum (previous year part).

        It’s actually quite amazing that Red Bull waited so long to use the shared parts rules to their own benefit.

        1. It’s actually quite amazing that Red Bull waited so long to use the shared parts rules to their own benefit.

          Red Bull has a lot of excess money now that the budget cap has limited their spending. They are also very confident – one might say overconfident – having successfully pulled the wool over their main competitors’ eyes with the awful engine freeze resulting from the ‘oh no Honda is leaving’ shenanigans. Spoiler: Honda is not leaving.

          Whereas Ferrari went to Le Mans, and McLaren expanded their racing team worldwide, Red Bull has seemingly decided its time to drop the pretense that their test team is for developing young talent, and has instead hired an experienced race winner to complement their apparently attempt to make it their second front-running team.

          The sooner this is stopped the better.

        2. right, Haas has very little understanding in the way of engineering too it seems. Hes more of an off the shelf, buy it because it must be good kinda mentality. People like that don’t get systems, they want to buy their way up, they see the world in terms of assets, liquid or what not, these people don’t understand the real problem.

        3. notagrumpyfan, I am not sure what you mean by claiming that “It’s actually quite amazing that Red Bull waited so long to use the shared parts rules to their own benefit.”.

          You are, quite bluntly, wrong – their junior team has been using shared parts for years (Jody Eggington has confirmed that, for example, the rear suspension components have been purchased from Red Bull under those regulations), so they were already using them to their own benefit.

          The difference is not that they are now using the shared parts rule – it’s that the junior team is now going to be expanding the number of parts that it buys under those regulations to the maximum. It’s why, for example, their new car has changed to pull rod front suspension – because they’re also buying the front suspension components from Red Bull, they’re now using the same layout as they are.

          As for the somewhat facile comparison with Haas and Ferrari: Haas and Ferrari are not owned by the same company, and Haas has employed Dallara to design their cars – unlike Red Bull, you do not have designers being employed by the same company (whereas Red Bull Technologies, which was set up as Red Bull’s design arm in 2004 to get around some of the restrictions back then on sharing components and designs, does have some designers from both Red Bull teams employed by the same company).

    2. chasis isn’t the same they still need to adjust that to use this new components.

  2. If Red Bull’s third and fourth cars turn out to be quick, it is going to be exciting seeing the egg on the faces of the silly team principals who agreed to both an engine freeze and allowing Red Bull to field four cars.

    1. Stephen Taylor
      9th February 2024, 15:23

      F1 needed RB to buy Minardi at the time they bought them . Otherwise there was a very real possibility there would only be 9 teams on the grid for 2006 . As it turns out there were 11 teams in 2006 because Super Aguri joined the grid too that year.

      1. F1 is indeed not innocent in this saga, but that’s almost 20 years ago.

        Teams that can be bought can also be sold, which is what should happen as soon as possible.

        1. Stephen Taylor
          9th February 2024, 15:35

          One current complication is Red Bull currently have Daniel Ricciardo -one of the most marketable drivers in F1 still in that second team. Whilst he is in the second team and Red Bull are making a mint from the second teams merchndising because . For that reason I don’t think they’l think of selling that team unless they are forced by rules until Ricciardo is out of that team either because he has been promoted back to the main Red Bull team or plain just retired form F1.

          1. Stephen Taylor
            9th February 2024, 15:39

            *merchandising

          2. They certainly don’t seem keen on selling their second team.

            I couldn’t know how much of that is related to Ricciardo though. While an experienced race winner and seemingly more in tune with the Red Bull cars than with the McLaren, he must have lost a lot of his reputation by being basically embarrassed by Norris two years straight. One also wonders how long his shtick will still be considered funny by Red Bull’s key demographic now that he’s almost 35 years old.

  3. Easier said than done, but on a side note, those predominantly white driving suits will probably take a little time for me to get wholly used to seeing them.

  4. Think his first priority is to start regularly finishing ahead of his team mate.

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