Red Bull Racing burst onto the scene in 2005 after purchasing Jaguar Racing from Ford. Since then they have flown through the ranks to become one of the most successful teams in modern F1 history. From the second-half of the 2009 season it was clear that Red Bull had a package capable of competing for wins, along with one of the best young drivers on the grid in Sebastian Vettel.
In 2010 that partnership struck gold as they swept to victory in the final race of the year to collect their first World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championship. The combination of Vettel and Red Bull would go on to dominate the sport, winning four consecutive titles together until the current hybrid engines came into effect in 2014.
In 2018 Red Bull Racing are adrift. Comfortably faster than most of the grid but unable to bridge the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes, they haven’t mounted a serious championship threat in five years now. They have so far been able to take three wins in the 2018 season thanks to smart strategy and their excellent driver pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, but outside of a weekend at Monaco they are very much the third-fastest team in the paddock. How can you take them back to glory?
The changes made to Career Mode in F1 2018 are huge, and one of the biggest is how unique the journey is with each team. At Red Bull Racing the initial expectations are for you to compete at the front. That means top 6 finishes at a bare minimum. They also prefer showmanship over sportsmanship, so in your interviews make sure you lean toward those kind of answers if you want the team to like you more.
These expectations are pretty reasonable. It’s easy enough to make yourself a showman, and Red Bull are substantially faster than the midfield teams so you should be able to stay in the top 6 even at tracks you struggle on. The best way to do that is to stay out of trouble at the first corner. Even if you lose a place to a Haas or a Renault it should be easy enough to find a slipstream and get past them, but losing an end plate, or more, by trying to dive up the inside of a Ferrari at turn 1 can ruin your whole race.
Each team has a unique R&D tree this year, and the “fog of war” means that you can’t see where the major upgrades are until you start down a path. At Red Bull, the powertrain department is by far the weakest part of the car. They have the best chassis on the grid, and the #2 aerodynamics behind Ferrari. The power is woeful though, this is thanks to the Tag Heuer branded Renault engine in the back. Red Bull Racing has less power than even Sauber.
The bonus, however, is that you have a major upgrade waiting for you. You start your career with 1,950 Resource Points, and you should start by focusing your efforts here. It’s smart to purchase the HPP Factory Efficiency 1 boost. It costs 1,000, but that cost will eventually come back to you as it saves you 10 percent on any upgrades you order.
If that is a little steep for you then the Quality Control booster is just 500 points, and gives you a 7.5 percent increase in success rate. This year upgrades fail more often than in F1 2017, so again it is wise not to ignore these parts.
The major upgrade will take three weeks to arrive, but if you order it immediately, then you’ll get the benefit for Azerbaijan, the most power-hungry circuit of the year. Ordering that part shows you the way to another major upgrade, which is a total of 2,150 points away, unless you bought that HPP Factory Efficiency 1 boot of course.
The first major upgrade doesn’t bridge the gap to the Ferrari and Mercedes powered cars, but it does help you down the straights, and will allow you to stave off Renault’s development as well.
After that you should concentrate on durability. Power unit allowances have been slashed in F1 2018. Whereas last year you were allowed four components throughout the year, you now have three internal combustion engines, MGU-H, and turbo chargers, but you have just two MGU-K, energy store, and control electronics.
The MGU-K is where you should focus your early efforts, because as it wears you will struggle to harvest energy. The ERS system is new for F1 2018 and is vital to your overall speed. If you can’t harvest then you have no energy to deploy. Letting these parts wear out will force you to take grid penalties due to ordering new ones. As a front-running team, that isn’t so bad, but it can be tough to cut through the field with an under-powered Red Bull and you certainly won’t be competing at the front like the team expects.
Building Red Bull up doesn’t take too long. If you spread your Resource Points around between the powertrain and aerodynamics departments you can quickly close the gap on Ferrari and Mercedes. Early on Red Bull’s best tracks will be Monaco, Singapore, and Hungary, but you can’t just wait for those tracks to come around. The strong chassis and aero package will help you considerably around both Australia and Spain in the early part of the season, and while you may struggle in Bahrain due to a lack of power, that gap should be more manageable by Azerbaijan, and considerably narrowed by the time you get to Monza, where you can get your second major powertrain upgrade installed.
Taking a seat at Red Bull Racing should deliver you a World Drivers’ Championship in the first or second year, and maybe even a World Constructors’ Championship too if you get your development right. You’ll notice your teammate become more and more competitive with Mercedes and Ferrari, and you can even begin to register 1-2 finishes if you ace your practice programmes and get maximum Resource Points each weekend.
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