If a week is a long time in motor racing then three weeks is an eternity. And Red Bull Racing Australia team principal Adrian Burgess says hopefully it’ll be enough time to get the VF Commodores of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes right on the pace in time for Barbagallo.
After a forgettable weekend in New Zealand where the team mustered only three podiums from what should have been at least six – courtesy of a mix of uncharacteristic driver errors, set-up troubles and plain bad luck – ATB admits his team is lucky to be leading the teams’ championship.
Always frank, the man behind the last three championship-winning cars says it’s given the Red Bull team the “kick up the arse” it needed and the best it yet to come.
“Someone’s doing a better job than us and it’s given us a kick up the arse,” ATB says.
“We don’t like coming second or third, we’re here to win races and win championships. But at the moment we don’t consider ourselves to be on the pace and equally, we’re not racing or qualifying well at the moment.
“The last two events we didn’t’ fully optimize the package we had. Even if our package isn’t ultimately the best at the moment, we still didn’t get the most out of it. So we’re looking at ourselves as much as we are the car.
“We’re trying to improve how the drivers perform and how the team operates and how the car functions. Everything is under the microscope and we’ll keep working at it like we always do.”
There’s no disputing Brad Jones Racing’s early success with the Car of the Future but ATB says positives from the rival team’s success is that the very same potential is yet to be unlocked in the Red Bull Commodores.
“You can’t put a time on it but hopefully in the next couple of events we can bridge the gap and be on the pace,” he says.
“And I think we unlocked some good speed in the car in New Zealand.
“It’s so early in the life of this car that there are still lots of areas that haven’t been optimized yet and the same goes for all teams. These things evolve and this year will be all about the team that unlocks the most potential from the car.
“BJR are leading that so far, they’ve unlocked the most potential. And whether they’re tapped or still going forward, we don’t know. Hopefully we can unlock more and come past them and get the job done come December.
“I’m more than convinced we’ve got the people to do the job, it’s just a matter o knuckling down and getting some results.”
As for the drivers, both Whincup and Lowndes are ruing missed opportunity after suffering rare driver errors while in podium contention in New Zealand. Burgess is convinced it will serve as the ideal motivation to return to the top step of the podium in Perth.
“The drivers are doing a good job but they’re not doing an outstanding job at the moment,” ATB says.
“Both drivers made a couple of mistakes over the weekend. But Jamie’s qualifying was good and it showed the speed we’ve got in the car. Craig didn’t have as good a run in qualifying for one reason or another. Craig and the team, we didn’t deliver the speed from that car we should have done or what it’s capable of. But we’ve got until next Friday to make improvements and I’m very confident of a much better performance in Barbagallo.
“You’re always working on bits and pieces and we’ve been quick at Barbagallo before. We were quick there last year. We’re looking forward to getting back there.”
Whincup and Lowndes currently sit second and third respectively in the championship behind Will Davison.