It’s a Wednesday afternoon and at Red Bull Racing Australia HQ the Australian Grand Prix debrief is still going. Occasionally someone breaks free for a bathroom excursion or Ludo comes stomping through, minus shoes, to collect what looks worryingly like some form of weaponry. Luckily there is a Red Bull fridge in the boardroom to keep them stocked up, but it’s debatable how well it would hold up against an angry Frenchman.
The moral of the story is that, although it’s a non-championship event, the AGP is taken no less seriously on the performance front. Sure, we could pretend we were sandbagging and testing, but the team is so damn competitive that the chances of anyone believing us are slimmer than an F1 driver before a weigh-in.
If you’d walked past our garage at Albert Park last week, you could well have spotted a sign reading:
If found, please return to the Red Bull Racing Australia garage.
The truth is though, we knew exactly where to find it. The lads next door had plenty of the stuff. If anyone had discounted Prodrive Racing Australia from the 2015 party after Clipsal, early as it may be, they were reminded very quickly that these new, aerodynamically-pimped up toys in their garage are going to be breathing down the necks of our bulls all season long. Bring it on!
Probably the biggest talking point of the week, other than the homecoming of the Honey Badger and the strategically coordinated facial hair throughout the F1 paddock, was the rolling starts in the V8 Supercars races. Although they currently don’t feature in our championship calendar, the RBRA masterminds are nevertheless picking apart each one with a fine tooth comb in an effort to learn whatever they can from them.
Damage is never good, but if we’re looking for a silver lining (which we are because without optimism right now we could well be suffering a pre-Tassie meltdown) it was lucky for us that the carnage happened in the final race, so that Lowndesy’s Holden could go straight back to the workshop for some TLC and a good spruce up before heading down to the Apple Isle.
The rolling starts are of course a device through which to try and give the 12-lap races a bit of razzle dazzle, and we’re all for individuality of the event. However, while the Formula 1 hierarchy remains in place, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will forever be the stunted sibling to the supermodel sister, even if it does become a championship round.
The main thing we learnt from last week’s antics though is that our love-hate relationship with the Melbourne Grand Prix remains. As the drivers say, it’s one of our favourite events, but without a win there since 2011, it’s clear we’re not one of its favourite teams.
We’ll book ourselves and the AGP into some couple’s counselling sessions and try to work this out because we sure aren’t giving up on it. Who knows, maybe next year we could be right back at the honeymoon period.