Why are Red Bull Racing so successful? For the third consecutive year, this relatively new team have won both the constructors and drivers championships, rivalling the sports’ legends of Ferrari and McLaren, but have only been established since 2004. So how exactly did they do this? Kyna Harmon investigates. Let’s go back to the beginning; in 2004 at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Jaguar Racing posted a ‘For Sale’ sign above their pit wall and Austrian Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz took up the offer and bought the team from its previous owners Ford. Subsequently naming it Red Bull Racing. Admittedly the team suffered a few teething problems whilst they started up in Formula 1™ and having an array of drivers from Coulthard, Klien, Berger and
Liuzzi who tried to guide the team through the field. But what happened on the 8th November in 2005 would change everything.
Adrian Newey as an engineer has one of the most referred reputations in the paddock. He is the ‘F1 Guru’ who produces championship winning cars and demands atleast £10million per annum. Usually these salaries are associated with drivers, not designers; however Newey has a total of nine Championship winning cars under his belt.
It is no surprise since Newey’s time at Red Bull, that the cars that have been produced by the team and him have been Grand Prix winning cars. He designed the cars of drivers Villenevue, Mansell, Prost, Haikken and Hill to six Championships. Therefore it was a crucial move to Mateschitz for Newey to become part of Red Bull Racing family with Christain Horner as team principal. At the Indian Grand Prix this year Lewis Hamilton announced that he “could not have caught Vettel [in his Red Bull] even if [he] had been going at 200 per cent”. It was at this Grand Prix Red Bull driver Vettel said aloud “He is a genius.” So you may, ask do the team appreciate the ‘Newey-effect’ they are certainly reaping,? Well of course, and regrettably he may be the last of designers his kind, who carries his notepad and pencil under his arm where ever he goes. Engineers understand that he was the first to couple aerodynamics with mechanics, and to create geniune vehicle excellence. However, symbolic to the sport itself, with pace comes risk and Newey does carry legend
Ayrton Senna’s death with him. Newey co-designed the fatal car with Williams Technical Director Patrick Head that crashed due to a steering column failure. Newey blamed himself and comtemplated quitting the sport altogether at the cost of Senna’s death in 1994. The relationship between car and driver is pivotal. So does a championship winning car deserve a championship winning driver? Correct. That’s why there’s a another reason for Red Bull’s success, and he goes by the name of ‘wunderkind’ or... Sebastian Vettel.
At the age of 25 with his blonde hair and blue eyes, Vettel has already broken 18 Official Formula 1™ records with 26 wins and 3 championships. At the 2008 Italian Grand Prix he won his first race in the unfancied Toro Rosso (which is the ’little sister’ team to Red Bull Racing, also owned by Mateschitz and allows young drivers to gain racing experience before heading into RBR). Still to this day, Toro Rosso have never seen this success be repeated. That Sunday alone he broke three records, including the youngest
driver to win the double of pole position and race win. In F1 alone no driver has since come close to achieveing such a feat - he remains invincible. Although these attributes by owner, Chief Techincal Director and driver seem all well and good - the team has been plagued by accusations of driver favouritism and team orders. Mark Webber, the ‘other Red Bull driver’ is a successful driver in his own right, winning nine Grand Prix’s in his career so far, but beating his team mate seems the most difficult yet.
he is arguably now reduced to a supporting role. This is of course dissapointing for any driver, but can you blame Red Bull?
Webber has struggled to find pace in the car for the last two seasons, whilst Vettel in some Grand Prix’s have quite literally cruised past his own team mate.
With strong opposition from McLaren and Ferrari it is great for any team eight years old to be contesting with such sporting greats. One may use driver and engineering abilities as sheer reasons however to direct a team and build foundations that can win three consecutive driver and constructors championships - a title only three teams have previously done; makes them a very successful team indeed. Kyna Harmon.
The drinks company announced when arriving into the sport that they wanted to “make F1 fun again”, and they certainly have. The team used to be noted for their paddock parties and loud electronic music pumping from their garage at Grand Prix weekends at all hours. But now, they are also noted for their trophy collection.
“With Sebastian it is different. He is still his own master, which is obviously also because Red Bull and Didi Mateschitz allow it…” - Bernie Ecclestone
Formula 1™ is flawed in the sense that for one team mate to succeed, naturally the other must fail. Hence why teams like Red Bull Racing and McLaren aim for one two wins as much as they can; because if both drivers are capable of race wins - why not aim for it? However, because Webber has not had nearly half as much success as his Vettel,
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF K.HARMON.