F1 season review 2016 – Will Red Bull’s exciting season mean more fireworks in 2017?
Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo Max Verstappen
Posted By: Editor   |  22 Dec 2016   |  11:58 am GMT  |  112 comments

Red Bull ended the 2016 Formula 1 season as the best-of-the-rest behind Mercedes, but it was an eventful year for the Milton Keynes-based squad.

With 30 points from the first two races, Red Bull’s season sprang into life in China. Daniel Ricciardo seized the lead from Nico Rosberg at the start while Daniil Kvyat charged into the same corner and frightened Sebastian Vettel into a crash with his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. A puncture dropped Ricciardo down the order – although he recovered to fourth – while Kvyat claimed third behind Rosberg and the irate Vettel.

Things went downhill fast for the Russian driver at his home race in Sochi when he triggered another first lap crash with Vettel – but there was no dispute about who was to blame this time. The incident also wrecked Ricciardo’s race and the Red Bull bosses opted to switch Kvyat with Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen for the next race in Spain.

Russian Grand Prix 2016

While many decried the apparent ruthlessness of the team’s decision, Verstappen scored a record-breaking win in Barcelona and the rest is history.

Ricciardo, already annoyed at the Red Bull strategy call in Spain that dropped him from the lead to fourth, responded with a sensational pole position lap in Monaco. The Australian driver should have won the race too, but a botched pitstop left him behind Lewis Hamilton and frustrated in second place.

From there, Red Bull’s fortunes ebbed and flowed with the performances of its drivers. Ricciardo had a disappointing run following Monaco, while Verstappen notched up more podiums.

Max Verstappen Kimi Raikkonen

But the Dutch driver began to court more trouble for his vigorous defensive driving in mid-season, just Ricciardo delivered four podiums in five races and a near-win in Singapore.

Red Bull ended the year as comfortably the second-best team, having outpaced Ferrari at most races from China onwards, but questions remained over its strategy calls, particularly in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

But in a season when Mercedes was generally untouchable once again, it was Red Bull that picked up the pieces if the Silver Arrows faltered. After Verstappen’s triumph in Spain, which followed the Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg lap one crash, Ricciardo won in Malaysia after the Briton’s engine failure.

Daniel Ricciardo Max Verstappen

Ricciardo vs Verstappen

Ricciardo drove superbly throughout 2016, other than his post-Monaco blip between Canada and Silverstone, and his pole at the Principality was one of the highlights of the season. Others were his spirited charge after Rosberg in Singapore and his robust defence from Verstappen, which sealed the win in Malaysia.

Verstappen’s world-class 2016 performances confirmed what many suspected when he joined F1 aged 17 in 2015. He certainly had some negative moments – such as his Monaco crashes, the incidents with the Ferrari drivers in Belgium and the lap one spin in Abu Dhabi – but he put in many stunning performances, capped off with his win in Spain and wet-weather master class in Brazil.

What did you make of Red Bull in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone


Maybe fireworks at McLaren too if it is competitive.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!


RBR still have their work cut out to deliver a car that can challenge Mercedes. I personally think too much faith is being placed in Mr Newey; Mercedes’ engineering know-how and strength in depth has evolved to the point that they are second to none these days. We have never seen anything like this level of team professionalism in the history of F1. It may have seemed that Red Bull closed down the gap in the 2nd half of 2016, but Merc would have shut down work on the car very early once they knew how strong it was. Unless RBR can bridge that gap, it will matter a lot less than people think which of their drivers can gain the upper hand. I personally think Max could have a bit of a tougher year.. his card is marked now, and there seems to be a phase in every driver’s career where they believe their own press and think they should be winning every race, and if the car isn’t right at the sharp end, they tend to overdrive it and not get the most out of it.


I’m not convinced. Mercedes built the best engine by a mile and every other engine manufacturer was prevented from closing the gap by the development tokens system.
I believe that the Red Bull chassis is still better than Mercedes, let down only by its motor, and I think Mercedes know it and that was why they didn’t want to supply Red Bull with engines. Turkeys don’t vote for Xmas.


with more emphasis on aerodynamics we’ll find out if the redbull’s is superior as you claim.


James why is there no discussion about the abolition of the token system in 2017? This is likely to have almost an equal equalising effect as the aero changes as most manufacturers knew where they were deficient to MB but couldn’t do a lot about it to now, this could be the most exciting aspect of the sport over the next 12 months


if they knew where they down on mercedes, they should’ve caught up.


I would be interested if other engine manufacturers can catch up in lubricants? Mercedes was so sucessful because of Personas. The cooling was smaller on the MB cars causing less drag. This allows other parts such as the nose being smaller.

Renault is supposed to have a deal with BP yet Red Bull seems to be with Exxon / Mobile. Honda now has a deal with BP but their turbo is smaller and connected to the engine. With this setup McLaren could have the least drag caused by the demands of the engine but I don’t think a scroll compressor designed like that will work as good as an axial compressor.

I think this year will be like last. Whomever can run their engine hotter while maintaining power and relability will win. I look for either Red Bull or Renault to catch up eventually.

At first I thought 2017 would be more of the same at least at the beginning of the season. Maybe without the token system progress can be made by Red Bull or others. I don’t have confidence in Honda as they can’t beat Toyota in Jaran or Chevy / Ilmour in the US.

I wonder if the Exon / Mobile deal with Red Bull is just sponsorship or do they provide lubricants? So you see the engine affects the Aero an vice versa. MB would have to collapse before anyone else could win often but this could happen within the team.


look at the size of the mercedes benz air intake above the helmet. 0.6% of that is for cooling..


It’s the same problem for all the teams.
Unless they go the Schumacher route with a clear NO1 driver.


The media is in danger of over hyping Red Bull’s 2017 prospects. History is on Red Bull’s side when it has come to reg changes (2009-13), but Adrian Newey has designed a few botch jobs at McLaren (MP4-16, MP4-18, MP4-19 & MP4-21). With the widening of the cars for 2017, his famous tight packages may not have the desired effect as with previous designs. Of course, reliability is not his forte either.

Max may well suffer third season syndrome, as he adapts to driving faster cars and crashes out too often. He may outpace Ricciardo again, but his maturity needs to develop before a real championship assault.


newey famously asked mclaren for shares in the company and dennis refused him so he designed those cars accordingly. he asked for 5% shares in redbull and was given it so redbulls don’t break.


Despite my expectation that RB will pull a Webber on Danny Ric, Danny’s used the RB loo a few times and has read MW’s hand writing on the stall door. He came into the team when Vet was king and dealt with it in the very best way you could imagine. They then threw the young Russian stud at him who promptly fell on his own sword. Along comes the new messiah and despite some strategy and pit stop flops (which he took hard), he learned from the experience and bounced back on top, with his bottom lip in tact.
If there’s a character on the grid that can deal with the BS that everyone is expecting RB to throw at him, it’s Danny Ric.
I just hope it doesn’t interfere with his title aspirations when he is at the peak of his powers.
If RB are smart they can have multiple WDC’s over a period longer than Vettels reign….(and no, i’m not suggesting they favour Ric over Ves -just that they hold off giving Ves the nudge along!)


ricciardo’s greatest talent is off track. much greater off track than on it so he is most unlikely to experience what webber did. webber shot his mouth off due to his insecurity on track. ricciardo is the complete opposite..


It could have been interesting if Sainz went to Mercedes. Then he could have had the opportunity to drive against Verstappen. He was pissed about Verstappen getting promoted to RB and not him.. But not going to happen.. But still! damn…


sainz and verstappen remind me of alonso and raikkonen.


Expect Ricciardo to up his game. If not there will be foggy visor, micro cracked chassis and bleeding on the straight excuses…


As long as they let him leave his stops with four wheels on the car he’ll do alright 🙂


Isn’t a micro cracked chassis more of a Vettel thing?


RBR clearly had the best driver line up and will do again in 2017. Maybe Verstappen will get the better of Ricciardo next year.? I fancy them to be snapping at Mercedes heels unless someone pulls a double diffuser out of the bag (2009) and runs away with both titles. I am looking forward to testing like never before.!!

Tornillo Amarillo

It will be amazing racing between Bottas, Ric and Max!


You forgot hamilton, silly to think he’s going to ne that far ahead.


Max has talent no doubt, but I think all other things being equal Ricciardo has the measure of him. Shame RedBull keep fluffing his strategy and pitstops.

I see problems in the future with RedBull supporting Max in any disputes, and with Ricciardo eventually leaving for Ferrari.


verstappen is 19 with 2 years f1 experience. 0.7 season experience in a top flight team.
watch this space.


I think Ricciardo has the toughest job in the world of motorsport, and frankly I think it will be beyond him to succeed.
Being paired up with someone like Verstappen is just like being paired up with a Senna or a Schumacher. Over time these guys drain their teammates of confidence because you just know they are willing to take it further than anybody else when it matters. That’s due to these few guys having supreme self-confidence.

Verstappen came on strong against Ricciardo towards the end of the 2016-season, just like he did to Sainz in 2015. I fully expect Verstappen to take another step for 2017 whereas Ricciardo is close to his peak.

People seem to forget that Verstappen is only 19 and has very little experience in single seaters, he’s got a huge potential for improvement. I have never seen a driver come through the ranks with more potential, and I have followed F1 since the seventies.
Many will say that only time will show whether he’s all that, and that is true for many drivers. But when you are talking about the very few special ones you just know right away. Everybody in the know knew Senna was going to be among the greats after that magic wet-weather drive in Monaco. Everybody in the know allready knew in 1993 that Schumacher was the next great in F1. Likewise everybody in the know are well aware that Verstappen will only grow in skill and confidence untill there’s nobody left to challenge him as the undisputed top driver in F1.


Redbull have basically been there to sweep up the crumbs when Merc failed.
They have also been the team that gave the most entertainment this year, on and of the track.
Looking forward to seeing Max develop even more next year. And hoping to see at least a 2 team race, but hopefully 4, for the WCC/WDC. But I’m not getting my hopes up to high.


We could very well see Red Bull fall backwards relative to the competition. As far as the Red Bull driver battle, I expect Ricciardo to get the better of Max; Max will get frustrated when the team doesn’t give him the advantage.


James I actually agree with Dren that RBR may actually start to struggle towards the end of 2017 due to engine updates . With RBR probably set to continue to trump the works Renault team in terms overall performance next year my feeling is Renault will start getting very irritated by this and will therefore chose to give Renault much greater priority over in season PU updates towards the end of ’17 and through ’18’ to get Renault Sport F1 to be the leading Renault powered team- leaving a furious RBR looking for a new PU partner in the long term after 2018. Do you think Renault would do that RBR James?


It would be part of the contractual agreement, one way or the other.


renault will never do that to RBR,they will give them equal treatment to Red Bull


Here is a thought.
Next years tyres are going to take a good hammering, why dont F1 force mandatory tyre stops.
I fear that we will just see drivers not stopping, and i think that will be a shame.


There are mandatory tyre stops. They have to use 2 of the 3 chosen compounds in the race


As far as I know they already have a mandatory stop to change compound.


If I’m not mistaken drivers will still have to use at least two different compounds during dry races, which effectively equals mandatory stop.


If they don’t have to stop, then so be it. It is what it is. We’ve had enough artificially contrived nonsense in f1 over the last 8 years or so to last a lifetime.

Besides, what is the attraction of seeing an f1 car trundle down a pitlane at 60 kph anyway?

Races without pit stops can have a very interesting dynamic, as moto GP has demonstrated over the years.


There’s every chance that despite what quite a few pundits are saying,Red Bull could be down in 4th place next year.
This would definitely cause some temper tantrums with both the drivers and the team management.
This will potentially lead to Danny Ric moving to Mclaren as suggested by this site.
What has surprised me about the team though is the strategy call slip ups. I guess it just goes to show that you’ve gotta be on top of absolutely every part of your game in F1 these days.


Interesting view on the possibility of Red Bull being 4th. So what would be your opinion on the possible top 3?


i cannot see why there should be fireworks or whatever they call it at redbull next season. verstappen feels he owes redbull forever for gifting him the youngest f1 race winner of all time title. ricciardo feels redbull cheated him out of a victory and feels they owe him so they have different motivations. verstappen will always obey redbull and ricciardo will always ask for favours expecting redbull to give him it.


Yeah, okay, whatever you reckon.


verstappen feels he owes redbull forever for gifting him the youngest f1 race winner of all time title

Got a source for that…?


Pass the eggnog Aveli!


Versatappen does not give the impression that he feels as though he owes anybody anything.

Riccardo will be aware that if he does not at least match Versatappen, his market value will take a nosedive. Thus we have a recipe for fireworks. And if red bull can match Mercedes next year, we will have a four- way ding-Dong for the title. Last time we had this was 2008, I believe, just before they “fixed” F1 with the 2009 regs.


we all witnessed verstappen refusing to follow team orders at toro rosso and together, observe a compliant verstappen who says how well he gets on with ricciardo.


sure @aveli, max had nothing to lose this season and anything to gain with being a team-player.

if you think his attitude towards daniel will be the same next season, you will be in for a surprise because max isn’t there to play the 2nd violin.

He will start off where he finished last year, beatinf daniel on a regular basis and heading towards his first title.


i wonder what bs stands for.


Ricciardo and Verstappen will be an even match, but Hamilton will dominate bottas. If the red bull is competitive, the team will need to back one driver early. This might get messy.


Hamilton will dominate Bottas

I’m a supporter of Hamilton but, to be fair, the same was said about both Button and Rosberg. And neither of them were ‘dominated’ by Hamilton.


Maybe not, but BOT is steady at best and not overly quick for mine in any conditions.


Matthew, that’s s good point about backing a driver to avoid taking points off each other. The problem is neither Red Bull man would tolerate being number two, expect ignored radio calls if they try it.


IMO RedBull’s season is overated.
RB has made fireworks… flashlights, smoke and noise but no substance.
Of course Ferrari’s – self-confessed – poor season helped them.

Another Red Bullseye hit by Hell-mouth Marko.
Gutsy and ballsy move to replace Kvyat by Max.
Kamikaze commercial/market move but successful sportive one.
It tells a lot about RedBull.
For people that doesn’t know, Marko won the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans edition, driving a Martini-Porsche 917K.
Marko set a distance record which remained unbeaten until the 2010 – 39 years.

Who really needs to raise his game is Horner.
As pointed out, RB race strategy has hurt Ricciardo a lot in Barcelona and Monaco.
Also RB’s best results came from race where they made less pits than Merc/Ferrari: Barcelona and Suzuka.
As a rule of thumb, whenever you hv the best chassis and weaker engine, endurance is a strategy to go.
Instead Horner seldon opted for sprint campaigns that cause that useless overtaking fest.
The trophy of The Most Overtakes of Season stays beside of The Winter Pre-season Testing Championship… in my pants.
Considering the dominant Merc-AMG scenario and the only winning matters, it’s undertandable that RB would split strategies among its drivers: one would be benefited the most while the other would suffer.
Eventhough, poor job and weakest link in the chain.

Mad Max is following the footsteps of Senna.
I ask myself if Max could have possibly done a better job this year with pre-season testing w/ RBR already.
But I’m glad that Max started at Barcelona. Adaptability is a quality of the champions. Darwin’s survival of the most apt at its best.
Senna-like, Max was forcing his bomb-dive-overtakes this season, often crashing into other drivers.
I don’t know if it was on purpose, but Max was doing a Mental Programation of the field: “if you see me making an overtake move, get out of the way or we will crash”.
This “quality” was one of the advantages of Senna compared to Prost: fast pace overtaking, specially backmarkers.
Senna-like, the enfant terrible is annoying the field w/ his tactics and in 2017 we will see a lot of pay-backs from the Ferrari and Force India boys.

Hope they sort out / reduce the powertrain handicap in 2017.


Mad Max Attacks: Spa, Singapore, Canada and Mexico.


” Max was forcing his bomb-dive-overtakes this season, often crashing into other drivers. ‘ ehm.. never ever Verstappen even damaged another car


First corner dive bomb after fluffing his start


??? Where dit Max chrashed someone out of the competition???


I’m pretty sure that Mercedes made fewer stops than Red Bull in Barcelona 😛


RBR’s driver setup with Ricciardo and Vesrtappen sure looks like the fight to watch in 2017. VES has had an awesome season in 2016 and will sure be looking to gain the 1st driver position in the team. All depends if he puts in a good drive for 2017.

RIC will start feeling like Webber in RBR and should be able to hold his ground through 2017 before making to the move in 2018. Ferrari, AMG Merc and McLaren all look like future teams that would have a place for him. The true fireworks will erupt once Kvyat gets back to RBR and drives alongside VER who took his seat. That would be an interesting show if it is ever gonna happen.


“The true fireworks will erupt once Kvyat gets back to RBR and drives alongside VER who took his seat. That would be an interesting show if it is ever gonna happen.”
Never… if Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen leave RBR duringor at the end of 2017, Carlos Sainz will take that seat. Apart from that I predict that Sainz will have a much better year in ’17 because he will not be forced to drive an outdated Ferrari power unit anymore. His STR will be fitted with a brand new Renault engine.


Hence my last sentence Jeroen, “That would be an interesting show if it is ever gonna happen”. One can wish, however the gods of F1 have other things on their agenda 😉


I’m not sure its Red Bull pairing we should worry about regardless of where the car is at. I think both guys have a very candid approach to racing and enough respect to deal with what comes. I’m really hoping its more of a mixed bag in terms of teams.There is a possibility that either Ferrari or RBR will get wins in 2017 and possibily fighting with Mercedes more often. Or it could be just more of the same. I hope Im very wrong but Im not looking forward to whomever Mercedes put in that other car- its not going to be very pretty.

I m actually interested to see how both Ferrari drivers go. I sense Kimi will be very keen to finish F1 on a high and Seb trying to win back credibility after a very poor 2016. I cant imagine any team mate would be happy with how Seb drove this year and we may see a more vocal Kimi if more of Ferrari strategies are needed to keep Seb in front.


RIP Iceman.

Cause of fatality: hypothermia plus a vodka binge in front of the Big Ape, Hamster and Captain Slow en route to 𝘎𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘛𝘰𝘶𝘳 tent.


In 2017:
1. RBR will give us Vettel v Webber Part 2. I think we know who will be given which role.)
2. RBR will be the team to beat. Unless someone think RBR wrote the new rules just to suit Merc, which I don’t think.
3. Racing will be processional, cars to hard to overtake.
4. For 2018 Vettel and Ham will swap positions.


2.) Red Bull needs an engine. MB can currently run their engines hotter than any on the grid. This leads to better aero because the nose and sidepods, etc. can be made smaller.

Come to think of it this is why Hamilton’s car caught fire in Malaysia. It was very hot outside.


Sadly, I fear your #3.


James I think we also not forget that although Max did spin on Abu Dhabi lap 1 he also recovered to Finish 4th and thats a big positive.

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