A brief history of the Red Bull Racing F1 team, including the team's origins, past drivers and its racing record in the F1 world championship
The Red Bull name entered Formula One as its own constructor a mere ten years ago, but what a decade it has proven to be. No team in the modern history of the sport has made such an immediate impact and achieved such spectacular success as quickly as Red Bull Racing.
When Austrian energy drinks billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz bought up what was left of the old Jaguar squad in 2005 for $1, it seemed as through the main focus of the team was simply to have a good time partying in the paddock. That was soon proven to be just a cover for Mateschitz's steely determination to achieve genuine success. His strategy was simple: hire the right people (Christian Horner as team principal, Adrian Newey as technical director), give them the resources they needed, and then let them get on with it.
The results didn't come straight away, and in the first four seasons Red Bull remained decidedly middle-ranking with more retirements than points finishes to its name. The original driver line-up of David Coulthard and Christian Klien was gradually replaced, with Mark Webber joining in 2007 and Sebastian Vettel gaining promotion from the talent-finding Toro Rosso sister team in 2009.
That same year, the team that had never won a race before in its history managed to clinch six of them in one season and was runner-up in the constructors’ championship to Brawn GP. The following year saw the Red Bull fully unleashed and it thoroughly trashed the Formula One china shop: nine race wins saw the team finally win the constructors’ title while Vettel became the youngest-ever Formula One world champion.
They'd repeat that success for an unprecedented three further consecutive seasons and it seemed that the Red Bull age would surely run indefinitely. Instead, the magic ran out abruptly in 2013 and Vettel unthinkably went a whole year without a single win. He was even upstaged by his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who took three victories while the team itself salvaged the runners-up spot in the constructors’ standings. A dispirited Vettel accepted a dream job offer from Ferrari and left; with Newey also halfway out of the door on other projects and the relationship with longtime engine providers Renault becoming increasingly fractious, it left Horner struggling to hold things together.
Daniil Kvyat replaced Vettel, and the question for Red Bull now is whether its original run of dominance was a one-off flash-in-the-pan or whether it really can be built up all over again. Although 2015 was a struggle - with no victories as the team slipped to fourth in the constructors’ championship behind Ferrari and Williams - 2016 has show the signs it can fight back, with the exciting Max Verstappen promoted alongside Ricciardo and winning on debut in Spain.
2017 promises to be strong year for the team, an increased focus on aerodynamic performance due to rule changes should play well into the hands of the team and their driver pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo looks impressive, both are thoroughly capable drivers but the unknown still remains as to how the Renault engine will perform against the Mercedes and Ferrari power units.