Are Formula 1’s Mid-Field Teams Unambitious?

Are Formula 1’s mid-field teams unambitious?

In a year when Red Bull Racing have switched to the uncertainty of Honda power, not a single Formula 1 mid-field team has explicitly stated its ambition to claim a possible third place. And no, I wouldn’t consider Rich Energy’s over-enthusiastic posts on social media as a claim whatsoever.

Yes, breaking into the top-3 is difficult for the Formula 1 mid-field teams that usually compete in Formula 1.5, but despite Helmut Marko’s over-the-top claims about Honda power, third place could still be up for grabs. In fact, if I were Formula 1 or a brave Formula 1 mid-field team boss, I would play on this narrative, at least in the pre-season.

Red Bull Racing have been quick in testing and Honda look more reliable than ever before, but could their partnership crack under pressure? We all know what testing form can mean. Honda has already expressed concerns about Red Bull’s tight packaging at the rear and the Red Bull-Honda management are already strategizing on running five power units through the season – three more than the rest. This means that engine penalties would be imminent; let’s hope at least one of the mid-field teams are brave enough to take the fight to Red Bull – on track and in talk.

Here’s our episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast where we discuss the battle of the energy drinks in Formula 1 and more!

Maybe Red Bull Racing’s demotion to the mid-field might be Formula 1’s saviour in a season when Ferrari vs. Mercedes could be the headlines yet again? This could throw up new rivalries in the sport – Magnussen vs. Verstappen or even Hulkenberg vs. Verstappen! And of course, there is an equal chance that Red Bull-Honda given us a much-needed three way fight for the title. Let’s see which way Red Bull’s fortunes swing.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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