While Mercedes looks to fill the hole that Nico Rosberg has left, Red Bull Racing seems increasingly more confident in their chances in 2017. With both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen signed on until at least until 2018, Red Bull will continue to improve on a successful 2016 season in the hopes of overthrowing the dynasty Mercedes has built.
While Mercedes has consistently had both drivers on the podium after the majority of the Grand Prix’ in 2016, Daniel Ricciardo was often the man standing alongside of them with eight podium finishes last season. This put him ahead of Sebastian Vettel who had finished in the top 3 seven times. By taking Rosberg out of the picture, Ricciardo could frequently find himself in slightly higher positions securing more points for himself and Red Bull. This, along with Max Verstappen’s seven podium finishes, could give Red Bull Racing the edge it needs in securing the Constructor Championship in the upcoming season.
With his main competition retired from Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton may find it easier to become the Driver Champion yet again, but securing enough team points for Mercedes is a completely different task. Valtteri Bottas is the favorite to race alongside of Hamilton in 2017, but it will take time for him— or whoever fills the empty seat— to adjust to a new team, a new vehicle, and the pressure of being on a championship-oriented team.
This could be the year that Red Bull reclaims the Constructor Championship, while nipping at the heels of the three time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.