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Is an RB podium bad for F1?

RB are already causing a stir since completing their rebrand from being known as AlphaTauri, with the outfit looking set for a remarkable improvement in 2024.

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To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

It's no secret that Red Bull have tightened their relationship with their sister team – formerly known as Toro Rosso and most recently AlphaTauri – ahead of 2024, although it's resulted in complaints that owning two teams results in an unfair advantage.

As part of the sister team's rebrand, they have increased their technical alliance with Red Bull and are now using as many parts from the reigning World Champions as legally possible, in line with the regulations.

Given that the Faenza-based side will be using several parts directly from Red Bull, the general expectation is that they will be significantly stronger in 2024 than they were in 2023.

Last season, RB sat at the foot of the Constructors' Championship for the bulk of the campaign, before a sudden improvement in the latter stages when they began to strengthen their relationship with their parent team.

RB have big hopes for the upcoming season, to the extent that Daniel Ricciardo is targeting podiums. Bouncing from the bottom of the standings less than a year ago to suddenly fighting for podiums would be staggering should it happen, but would it be a legitimate improvement?

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has already expressed his dissatisfaction at Red Bull owning two teams and has called for the FIA to take action.

“We’ve seen it on track, some collaborations going on," Brown told Sky F1. "Technically, they’ve been very forthright in ‘we’re going to take the suspension, etc'.

“The definition of a Constructor is someone who develops their own Intellectual Property. I think the sport has moved onto an equal playing field.

“To have A-B relationships and co-ownerships of two teams on a level playing field, it's not what the fans expect. The FIA really need to do something about it.”

Red Bull help 'important'

Considering how dominant Red Bull were in 2023, RB could be in for a phenomenal 2024 courtesy of the parts they've received. It's a delicate topic considering that RB know the parts they've fitted to their new car – the VCARB 01 – are exceptional and are capable of big results.

Whilst it's not uncommon for customer teams to receive parts from their supplier, what is rare is the amount RB has received. RB performing badly, in many ways, would be a monumental shock.

Like any team, though, they simply want to progress up the standings and be fighting for the top positions, something RB CEO Peter Bayer has admitted is impossible without the help of a current successful Constructor.

“It’s important for us because we want to be tough but fair competitors,” Bayer exclusively told RacingNews365.

“The other thing I keep saying is if you look at the World Championship rankings from last year, you add the points from the bottom four teams, they have less than the team in P6.

“So what does it mean? It means that ultimately Formula 1 is a battle of resources [and] nowadays, also efficiency. And I believe that the teams which are further back in the rankings, they need a certain amount of support.

“That’s mainly through financial [means], pieces of product supply to actually remain competitive.

“The others, they will out-qualify and out-pay, be it on drivers, be it on certain investments on the CapEx side. In my eyes, it’s the wrong approach.

“The financial reality is a given today, and it's not that all the 10 teams are making money. We have to be careful [not] to overreact to the paranoia of certain people.”

Of course, questions will be asked from several teams if RB are immediately capable of challenging the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin. But would Ricciardo or Yuki Tsunoda finishing on the rostrum be bad for the sport?

It's a difficult question to answer. It could be argued that it wouldn't be a genuine podium considering the amount of parts they've taken from Red Bull, but at the same time, it could be seen as simply clever thinking by the sister team and the Red Bull family in general to have two competitive teams.

What RB and Red Bull have done is within the regulations and is therefore legal, at least for now, but is it right for the strongest team in the sport to own a second team?

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