Red Bull Racing is looking to this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix to salve the frustration it felt at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix, where a potential podium result again went begging.
The Milton Keynes team, already smarting from having to watch sister outfit Scuderia Toro Rosso claim Red Bull's first F1 win in the rain at Monza, appeared to have managed a tactical masterstroke by pitting both Mark Webber and David Coulthard seconds before the safety car took control of the Singapore event, but ultimately fell foul of a rare mechanical failure and a moment of miscommunication in the pits.
"Our level of performance wasn't great from the beginning of the weekend, but we were able to seize our chance when Nelson [Piquet Jr] had his accident," engine guru Fabrice Lom admitted, "Our cars were at a point on the circuit that allowed us to refuel before
the safety car came out and we found ourselves at the front when the race restarted. Unfortunately, while it seemed to be going perfectly for us, things got complicated.
"First of all, Mark, who had not had any mechanical problems in a race this season, had to retire, which was a big blow because he was in contention for a podium. Then David was distracted slightly when Fernando [Alonso] came out of the pits from his second stop and was overtaken by [Lewis] Hamilton. And, when he came in for his second stop, a misunderstanding between the mechanics lost him a few seconds – not an enormous amount, but enough to let some cars slip past - so we finished seventh, which is a little frustrating as we could have scored more points."
Even Alonso's win for engine partner Renault could not assuage the disappointment in the Red Bull camp as a rare chance to beat the likes of McLaren and Ferrari evaporated.
"I've got mixed feelings," Lom admitted, "At the time, I was disappointed with the result for Red Bull, yet truly happy to see the Renault engine on the top step of the podium. But I know it would have been possible to have two of our engines on the podium, in two different chassis..."
Fuji, too, has mixed memories for Lom and RBR, as it was at the Japanese circuit last season that Webber appeared on course for his best result in the top flight when STR rookie Sebastian Vettel ran into the back of him as the safety car circulated in atrocious conditions. Although it might take simialr conditions to give the team another shot at the podium, Lom is optimistic that points will be on the agenda.
"First of all, we are hoping that we don't get the same weather conditions that we had last year, even though we were very close to achieving a great result," he admitted, "The Fuji circuit has a long straight, but it's not a big problem in terms of reliability and there's nothing too difficult about the place. The key is to be well prepared."