Heading into the 2016 championship season, the expectation was that three teams would dominate Formula 1 in 2016: Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull Racing. This, after all, has been the case for some years now.
Ferrari got off to a competitive start, despite 2015 acquisition Sebastian Vettel not having found the top of the podium yet. Kimi Räikkönen has led the way in the partnership and together they’ve managed 76 points through four races. Each driver has a second-place finish on the year.
Mercedes has been even better. Despite threats that the team could be broken up in the off-season, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are dominating once more, though Rosberg is on top now. The German has gone four-for-four with first-place finishes thus far. Any tension that may exist between the teammates appears to function as healthy competition for the team.
But Red Bull Racing has had no such luck. While Daniel Ricciardo has performed well, and in fact is ahead of Vettel in the early going, teammate Daniil Kvyat has been a disaster. Most notably, Kvyat’s horrific showing at his home Grand Prix in Russia led many to speculate about his future on the team.
Now we know that the performance in Russia was the last straw for Christian Horner and team Red Bull Racing. Kvyat has been sent down to the junior team, with 18-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen joining Ricciardo on the first team. The moves are meant to last for the duration of the season.
Image via Red Bull Racing