Red Bull Racing is one of two Formula One teams owned by Austrian beverage company Red Bull (the other being Scuderia Toro Rosso). The team is based in Milton Keynes in the UK but holds an Austrian licence. The team is managed by Christian Horner, boss of the Arden International GP2 Series team.
Jaguar Racing, was put up for sale in September 2004 when Ford decided it could "no longer make a compelling business case for any of its brands to compete in F1." Red Bull, a large energy drinks company, agreed its purchase of Jaguar Racing on the final day of the sale, 15 November 2004. BBC Sport reported that Ford asked bidders for a symbolic US$1 in return for a commitment to invest US$400 million in the team over three grand prix seasons. The team continued to have access to the Cosworth engine developed for their 2005 chassis, and the operation continued under the new title.
Red Bull Racing was not the start of Red Bull's involvement in open-wheel racing. Setting up a Formula One team of its own meant that Red Bull had to end its long-term partnership with the Sauber Formula One team. The drinks company also runs a young drivers programme, Red Bull Junior Team, whereby Red Bull sponsors promising young drivers. High-profile drivers who have received this backing include Enrique Bernoldi, Christian Klien, Patrick Friesacher, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed. Red Bull also sponsors many drivers and teams competing in the GP2 Series, Formula One's "feeder" series.
Red Bull Racing was one of only four teams (the others being Ferrari, Midland F1 and WilliamsF1) to have signed the Concorde Agreement starting in 2008, guaranteeing its long-term involvement in Formula One. However, more recently further teams have submitted entries securing the future of Formula One.
Red Bull's owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, reportedly tried to recruit former Formula One driver and BMW Motorsport chief (and fellow Austrian) Gerhard Berger to help guide the team through its debut season. However, this was never realised. For 2005, the chassis was christened the RB1. Red Bull Racing used Cosworth engines in its maiden year due to the ease of continuing with the engine Jaguar Racing used.
Former McLaren driver David Coulthard led the team. Coulthard was chosen for his experience, considered ideal to help lead the fledgling team. For the second car, Red Bull shared the drive between two of its young sponsored drivers: Christian Klien, who had driven for Jaguar in 2004 and 2004 F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi. At first it was announced that Klien and Liuzzi would swap driving duty every four races, but by the end of the season Liuzzi had appeared only four times.
Red Bull's first year in Formula One was a massive success compared to their predecessors, Jaguar Racing. They were 6th in the Constructors Championship for most of the season, only beaten by the fast-improving BAR Hondas at the end of the season. In a single season they amassed more points than Jaguar had in 2003 and 2004. Coulthard, after a poor 2003 and 2004 with McLaren was a revelation for the team while Klien showed that he has vastly improved from 2004. In all they collected 34 Points, 24 for Coulthard, 9 for Klien and 1 for Liuzzi. Red Bull was a consistent points and occasional podium challenger for most of their debut season.
American driver Scott Speed, who rose through the ranks in the American equivalent of Red Bull Junior Team, Red Bull Driver Search, was Red Bull Racing's third driver in 2005 for the Canadian and United States Grand Prix. Speed was attractive to Red Bull because of his American nationality, which would raise the profile of both Red Bull and Formula One in America, a market where the sport has traditionally struggled to make an impact.
On 23 April 2005, the team announced a deal to use Ferrari engines in 2006. This coincided with a rule change mandating the use of V8 engines, making it likely that both Red Bull Racing and Ferrari would use the same specification engine. Red Bull Racing continued to use Michelin tyres, rather than the Bridgestones used by Ferrari and came to be seen as politically close to Ferrari (much like Sauber used to be).
On 15 December 2005, the team's second car, the Red Bull RB2, hit the track for the first time. David Coulthard completed a handful of laps of the Silverstone circuit in England, and declared the new car was a "sexy looking thing" . In early testing Red Bull was plagued with cooling problems and overheating of car components .
At the opening race of the 2006 season in Bahrain, Christian Klien qualified eighth (ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault and both BMWs). Coulthard had problems when he flat spotted a tyre fighting with Nick Heidfeld, and finished 10th; the cooling problems returned when his Ferrari engine expired on the slowing down lap, forcing a grid penalty for the following race. In Malaysia, Coulthard made up several places from back of the grid but was forced to retire with hydraulic problems, while Klien had an opening lap incident with Kimi Räikkönen and also retired. Coulthard got a point in the Australian Grand Prix after Scott Speed was penalised for passing him under the yellow flags. The following races were marred with retirements and lowly finishes.
Coulthard finished 3rd at the Monaco Grand Prix, the team's first podium finish. Team boss Christian Horner said before the race that if one of his cars were to finish on the podium, he would jump in to a swimming pool at the track naked. He ended up jumping into the pool wearing only a red cape. Coincidentally both Stewart Grand Prix and Jaguar, the team's predecessors, also scored their maiden podiums at that race.
Coulthard scored a point at Montreal, passing fellow Briton Jenson Button in the closing stages of the race. Klien also fared well, driving the second RB2 to 11th position. At the US Grand Prix Klien retired along with eight other cars including Toro Rosso driver Scott Speed on the first lap after a series of first corner incidents. Coulthard finished 7th.
The team finished 7th in the FIA Constructors Championship, with 16 points, five points ahead of the Williams team. David Coulthard (14pts) finished in 13th place in the drivers' standings, the departed Klien (2pts) classified in 18th position. Klien's replacement, Robert Doornbos, failed to score any points.
2007 saw the debut of the Adrian Newey designed RB3. After lengthy discussions over Red Bull Racing's obligation to continue to use Ferrari engines for 2007, the team announced on 31 August 2006 they would use Renault engines for the 2007 season, the Ferrari contract being passed to Scuderia Toro Rosso.
The team announced on August 7, 2006 that it had signed Mark Webber to drive alongside David Coulthard for the 2007 season, replacing Christian Klien who ended his association with the team. Klien was replaced by Robert Doornbos for the last three races of 2006. Robert Doornbos has been announced as the team's third driver for 2007.
Despite qualifying in 7th place for his home race in Melbourne, Mark Webber finished down in 13th due to a persistent fuel flap that closed as the pit mechanics went to put the fuel in and when it was opened it remained open until the next pit stop greatly increasing drag and decreasing airflow over the rear wing. It was worse for David Coulthard however, who crashed heavily with Williams's Alexander Wurz in the late stages of the race. Malaysia was more of the same for Webber, while Coulthard retired with brake problems. However in Bahrain the team showed improving pace and Coulthard and Webber were running 7th (with Coulthard starting from the back) and 8th respectively before reliability problems put both out of the race in quick succession. However in testing at Barcelona Coulthard has set the fastest lap in the new configuration of the circuit(since superseded by Felipe Massa). Coulthard secured the team's first points by scoring a gritty 5th with a faulty gearbox on his closing laps in Spain, while Webber was dogged with hydraulic problem all weekend, eventually retiring from the race after failing to set a competitive lap in qualifying. The performance hike the team has experienced at the Catalonian track has left both drivers and team optimistic about their future results, with reliability troubles being as much a focus as the increase of their already competitive pace.
After this, the drivers seemed to have a stroke of good luck during the unpredictable and exciting 2007 European Grand Prix in which Webber finished 3rd, his second career podium. Coulthard backed it up with a strong 5th which was made all the more impressive by the fact he started 20th on the grid after the team mistakenly kept him in the pits too long resulting in him not being able to complete another qualifying lap.
At the Chinese Grand Prix, Red Bull had a competitive qualifying session. Coulthard achieving 5th on the grid, along with Webber in 9th.
Red Bull continued with the same drivers in 2008 and had numbers 9 and 10 on their cars after finishing 5th in the 2007 constructors championship. Red Bull presented the RB4 at the Jerez circuit on January 16 and announced that Sébastien Buemi would be their test and reserve driver for 2008 combining it with his GP2 drive with the Arden International GP2 team.
After Webber retired from the opening round he went on to score 5 consecutive points finishes. David Coulthard had a tougher start to the 2008 campaign due to poor qualifying, but a 3rd place at Canada gave Red Bull their first podium since the 2007 European Grand Prix. At the half-way mark, the team had notched up 24 points (the same as their total for the 2007 season) and were locked in a fierce battle with Toyota and Renault for 4th in the constructors championship. The team had also resolved the reliability problems that had dogged them the previous year.
However, as the season progressed, Red Bull failed to keep up with their competitors. Red Bull scored just 5 points in the last 10 races, and even Toro Rosso (the Red Bull 'B team') had overhauled their total by the seasons end. This fact led many to claim that the Renault engine powering the Red Bull was lacking in horsepower compared to the Ferrari engine behind the Toro Rosso team. For the 2009 season, Renault have been allowed to equalise the difference in engine power compared to their competitors.
Webber notched up his 50th top ten grid position at the Spanish Grand Prix, an impressive stat given he has started 107 Grands Prix, mostly in mid-field cars. That makes his top ten start ratio to Grands Prix entered close to 50%. Coulthard announced his retirement from F1 at the British Grand Prix race and, despite hopes for a strong final home Grand Prix, was forced to retire on the first lap, which also occurred at his final grand prix in Brazil where he retired at the second corner.
Red Bull Racing launched their new RB5 chassis virtually on February 8 by means of a 3D computer generated video narrated by Sebastian Vettel. The physical launch of the car was held the next day. The team secured their first ever pole position at the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel, posting the fastest time with just a single qualifying lap in Q3. Mark Webber qualified in third on the grid. The next day, Vettel won, with Webber second. Vettel's victory, in rain-soaked conditions, marked the team's first-ever win.
After the Bahrain Grand Prix, came the Spanish Grand Prix, where Webber and Vettel finished 3rd and 4th, respectively, after having qualified 5th and 2nd. In the Turkish Grand Prix, RedBull gained a 2-3. At the 2009 British Grand Prix the car had substantial upgrades and Sebastian Vettel won after qualifying on pole position, ending Jenson Button's run of 4 Grand Prix victories after the Chinese Grand Prix. The team scored a 1-2 in the German Grand Prix with Mark Webber (who managed to win despite being given a drive-through penalty earlier on) leading Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber also took his second Formula One victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix. A second 1-2 finish for the team was recorded at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, this time with Vettel finishing ahead of Webber.
Red Bull have been very vocal about wanting to make F1 'fun' again. One way in which they went about doing that was by employing Mark Gallagher, who was head of marketing for nine years at Jordan, itself an exciting brand in the late 1990s. Red Bull also started The Red Bulletin, a satirical magazine that is released four times per race weekend and distributed to the paddock and to members of the public from behind the main grandstand at each track.
In the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, they supported the movie "Superman Returns", which continues the line of marketing events begun by the "Star Wars: Episode III" promotion of 2005 (in the 2005 race, the pit crew dressed up as clone troopers) and the "Ocean's Twelve" promotion of 2004 when the team ran under the Jaguar Racing banner. When David Coulthard finished third in the 2006 race, he donned a Superman cape for his appearance on the podium.
In the autumn of 2005, Red Bull announced that they had purchased the Minardi Formula One team, and it would be known as Scuderia Toro Rosso (Italian for Team Red Bull) from 2006 onwards. Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR) operates as a separate team, but the two share certain technical resources. In 2006 STR used a chassis based on the 2005 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB1 chassis, originally designed by Jaguar Racing, and Minardi's contracted supply of rev-limited V10 Cosworth engines. It has been widely speculated that the 2007 chassis for both teams will be essentially the same Adrian Newey design, although Red Bull has been careful to ensure that the "STR2 will be built by Red Bull Technologies, and Toro Rosso will fully own the intellectual rights of the car." Formula One teams are not allowed to use another team's chassis. STR has been used as a 'B' team for Red Bull Racing, allowing the company to work with more drivers. As of the 2010 season this arrangement has been outlawed, and the STR5 is the first Toro Rosso car designed and built in-house.
In 2005 RBR driver Tonio Liuzzi was given a full time seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso alongside another Red Bull sponsored driver, Scott Speed. Tonio Liuzzi retained his seat in STR for the 2007 season. Sebastian Vettel replaced Speed in the middle of the 2007 season, and Sébastien Bourdais replaced Liuzzi at STR for the 2008 Formula One season. Toro Rosso performed well during the 2008 season and Sebastian Vettel won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2005||Red Bull RB1||Cosworth TJ2005 V10||M||AUS||MAL||BHR||SMR||ESP||MON||EUR||CAN||USA||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||TUR||ITA||BEL||BRA||JPN||CHN||34||7th|
|2006||Red Bull RB2||Ferrari 056 V8||M||BHR||MAL||AUS||SMR||EUR||ESP||MON||GBR||CAN||USA||FRA||GER||HUN||TUR||ITA||CHN||JPN||BRA||16||7th|
|2007||Red Bull RB3||Renault RS27 V8||B||AUS||MAL||BHR||ESP||MON||CAN||USA||FRA||GBR||EUR||HUN||TUR||ITA||BEL||JPN||CHN||BRA||24||5th|
|2008||Red Bull RB4||Renault RS27 V8||B||AUS||MAL||BHR||ESP||TUR||MON||CAN||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||EUR||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||CHN||BRA||29||7th|
|2009||Red Bull RB5||Renault RS27 V8||B||AUS||MAL||CHN||BHR||ESP||MON||TUR||GBR||GER||HUN||EUR||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||BRA||ABU||153.5||2nd|
|2010||Red Bull RB6||Renault RS27 V8||B||BHR||AUS||MAS||CHN||ESP||MON||TUR||CAN||EUR||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||KOR||BRA||ABU||16*||4th*|
* Season in progress.
† Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance was completed