Red Bull Racing
Formula 1 team
|F1 debut||Australian Grand Prix, 2005|
|Race driver||Daniel Ricciardo|
|Race driver||Max Verstappen|
|Team principal||Christian Horner|
|Chief technical officer||Adrian Newey|
|Head of car engineering||Paul Monaghan|
Red Bull’s progress from midfield team to front runner was hastened by the arrival of Sebastian Vettel in 2009. With the drawing board talents of Adrian Newey, and the pace of the young German, success quickly followed. From 2010 until the end of 2013, the team were essentially untouchable, winning four consecutive championships. However, they lost their star driver at the end of 2014, and had to pin their hopes on Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Energy drinks company Red Bull purchased their first Formula One team ahead of the 2005 season, hiring GP2 team boss Christian Horner as their team principal from the outset. The origins of the team date back to the late 1990s, when Sir Jackie Stewart created his own team alongside his son. The team were bought by main sponsors Ford, who rebranded them Jaguar, and in this guise they ran for the next five years in that distinctive green livery.
Ford put the team up for sale and Red Bull stepped up to buy, the Austrian company having previously been a sponsor for other F1 outfits and running its own successful young driver programme. David Coulthard was signed for the first season in 2005, and the drivers featuring in the other car would vary until Red Bull settled on Australian Mark Webber. At the end of their first year, the team secured the services of Adrian Newey as technical director.
Initially a midfield team, the car started to improve. In 2009, Sebastian Vettel was brought on board – the German having embarrassed Red Bull by winning in their sister team Toro Rosso, before the main team had seen the top step of the podium. With Vettel on board, and the fruits of Adrian Newey’s labours starting to pay off, the team finished that year in second place in the championship. In 2010, they won their first title and followed it up with three more.
It’s not all been easy going, as the team have been criticised for their liberal use of team orders – whether they were legal or not – and the relationship between Vettel and Webber wasn’t helped by the apparent favouritism towards the German. However, with Newey pushing at the loopholes of every regulation and Vettel winning on a constant basis, they dominated the early 2010s and secured those four consecutive titles.
For the 2014 season, early pre-season running showed significant reliability concerns, and it took them a while to get going. Daniel Ricciardo proved how fast he was by consistently outperforming teammate Vettel, and winning the only three non-Mercedes victories of the year. Despite being best of the rest by the end of the season, Red Bull were vocal about being unhappy with the regulations, and Adrian Newey took a step back from Formula One citing disappointment at the inflexible nature of the rules.
With Sebastian Vettel moving to Ferrari, the team promoted Daniil Kvyat to join Daniel Ricciardo for 2015, hoping to continue to challenge Mercedes and regain their earlier title momentum. They had occasional results but continued to struggle with the Renault engine. By the end of the year, they had declared a departure from Renault but couldn't find a replacement power unit supplier so had to stick with an unbranded French engine for 2016.
Red Bull were the only team able to get anywhere near Mercedes during the 2016 season, and even then they finished a distant second in the championship. After just four races, the team opted to demote Daniil Kvyat back to Toro Rosso and promote Max Verstappen in his place. This proved to be a harsh but wise decision, as the young Dutch racer quickly took his first victory for the team. Daniel Ricciardo followed up with another towards the end of the season. Both drivers were frequent visitors to the podium and enjoyed a good year together, so Red Bull were happy to stick with the line up for 2017.
Learn more about Red Bull with the Pocket F1 Handbook.