A year ago, thousands of fans cheered Sebastian Vettel’s retirement from the British Grand Prix - but this year a repeat could be a mere footnote.
Red Bull’s dominance over the last five years really came to the fore at Silverstone in 2009, but 2014 has seen the world champions struggle to just one victory.
Their disappointing season was typified in the last round in Austria - not only the home race for Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, but a circuit owned by the energy-drinks brand - with arguably the team’s worst performance since 2008.
Vettel’s car lost all power with barely a lap completed before bursting back into life only when he fell a lap behind, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo struggled to an eighth place finish after winning the previous round in Canada.
And after the embarrassment of such a lacklustre showing, the emphasis is really on at Silverstone for the team to impress at their second home and in front of hundreds of their employees from Tilbrook.
“It’s fantastic that we’ve got so many of the factory attending the race,” said Principal Christian Horner.
“We have a team grandstand so everyone can sit together and cheer on the guys on track.
“The factory is only about 20 minutes away from the circuit so it’s fantastic to have so many of the team attend the race, to see their cars that they work on tirelessly all year, it is their one opportunity to see them live in action.”
And they owe them a performance. While there is still 11 races remaining in the 2014 season, and while Red Bull are the only team to register a victory aside from the all-conquering Mercedes, it’s widely accepted that Red Bull are in no position to battle for what would have been their fifth world championship in a row.
Horner though remains optimistic, citing their victory in Montreal as one of the reasons not to rule them out of another surprise at Silverstone.
He said: “All things being equal obviously the Mercedes have got such an advantage at the moment it’s going to be tough to beat them, but as we saw in Montreal recently, anything can happen and we’re going to be pushing hard.”
Vettel too acknowledges the importance of Silverstone, not just to get the season back on track.
“This race has an extra element as it’s so close to the factory and a lot of the staff who work so hard on the car will be watching from the grandstands with their families,” he said. “I hope we can get a good result for them.”
For Ricciardo, it’s his first British Grand Prix for Red Bull, and he hopes he can show more of what he’s capable of.
He said: “I know a lot of the guys are going to be watching at the track so I’ll be going at it for a good result.”