Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

The curse of the Bull that is Red // Mark Webber isn't the only driver to suffer a bit of bad F1 luck

Published by Christine

It’s a running joke in almost every single conversation about Formula 1 that Mark Webber is the unluckiest man on the grid. If he’s leading a race, his engine will blow up. If he’s in front of his home crowd, he will spin off spectacularly. If he needs the points, he’ll have someone crash into the back of him. If it’s just a regular day, his gearbox will fail.

My heart goes out to the guy, but I’ve been doing some thinking. It seems to me that he has made the biggest mistake of his life by joining Red Bull. The unluckiest man in F1, joining the unluckiest team?

Let’s discuss.

First, I’d like to wow you with some facts and figures.

In 2005, running two cars, RBR suffered 9 retirements. In 2006, it was 12. In 2007, it was up to 14. One race in to 2008 and they’ve already notched up 2. (Yes, alright so did a lot of teams, but stay with me, here.)

Sister team Toro Rosso had 8 retirements in 2006, 17 the following year and 1 so far this year.

The number is increasing at a scary pace.

Let’s compare that to McLaren. You remember when Kimi Räikkönen was at McLaren in 2006 and we were all under the impression that he suffered from the worst reliability ever and it cost him the championship? That was just 6 retirements.

Personally, I think the numbers say it all, but if you’re not convinced by the statistics, let’s take a look at the human side of the team.

Red Bull Racing hired David Coulthard from the start. He hasn’t exactly wowed anyone with his moves. He certainly seemed a lot happier as a driver to start with, but has anyone else noticed the edge of frustration creeping into his voice as each race ticks by with no results? You’d think he’d be happy just have to race drive, but he obviously wants something else. Whatever that is, he’s not getting it from Red Bull.

Mark Webber is the unluckiest man alive. We’ve covered that. The man has spent more time off the track than he has on it.

How about Liuzzi and Klien? They had to share a drive at Red Bull to start with. That did not work.

How about Scott Speed at Toro Rosso? Talk about a clash of personalities.

Now we have wonder-kid Vettel ready to display some serious talent out on the track and he doesn’t have the machinery under him to do it. He’s made mistakes, clearly, he’s young and learning. But it just adds to the list of bad things that happen to Red Bull drivers.

Don’t even get me started on poor Sébastien Bourdais. 3 laps from the end!

I must have convinced you by now. The figures say it all, the personnel have clearly struggled, and the results haven’t materialised. Let me ask you a question: when was the last time you remember something good happening to an F1 team with Red Bull on the car?

If you are thinking: Nüburgring, 2007, Webber on the podium, then let me stop you right there. This is the proverbial nail in the coffin: Imagine you are the principal of a team hounded by constant bad fortune. You laughingly say: “If we get a podium, I’ll jump into a swimming pool naked.”

And what happens?

Christian Horner takes to the water

Now, that’s unlucky.