A parting gift for Red Bull but a litmus test for Renault?
Inevitably, as the nights begin to draw in across Europe, teams and engine manufacturers are driving towards 2016. After all, stretching the purse strings to add improvements to a car which is destined to spend the majority of its future as a museum piece is hardly a viable option. As such, developments are made with next year in mind and in the case of Red Bull and Renault, attention has been firmly on 2016 for quite some time. The eleven tokens spent by Renault ahead of this weekend’s US Grand Prix are most likely to be with a eye to a works team future in mind – a litmus test for the unit which could power the first fully-fledged Renault F1 Hybrid.
F1’s headlines have been dominated by weeks of speculation regarding what the sport’s notoriously fickle driver market could look like in the event that Ferrari called time on their relationship with the 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen. Today, the debate surrounding who will partner Sebastian Vettel at the Scuderia in 2016 has been drawn to a rather abrupt close, as the team have announced the retention of the Iceman for another season. The status quo at Maranello could cause a shockwave of continuity effecting their competitors.
Monaco is notorious for it’s double-six nature. The unique characteristics of the circuit mean that the form guide can be thrown into the harbour and past results count for very little. While Red Bull and McLaren benefited, Williams were one team who struggled throughout the weekend. With Bottas falling out of qualifying at the Q1 stage and early contact spelling a Sunday afternoon of woe for Massa, the team left Monaco without a point to their name. Certainly not the type of performance that Williams have become accustomed to over the past 18 months.