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Oracle Red Bull Racing



Oracle Red Bull Racing Team

Building 2
Bradbourne Drive
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Tel: (44) 1908 279700

Official website:

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2023 - number of wins:
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Max Verstappen
Car number: 1
Age: 26
Championships: 3
Wins: 54

Sergio Perez
Car number: 11
Age: 34
Championships: 0
Wins: 6


It was only natural that in trying to sell his 'young' and 'vibrant' product to the world, Red Bull boss, Dietrich Mateschitz would make use of Formula One, the most vibrant and glamorous of sports - not to mention global - was the obvious choice for the Austrian.

Originally the company sponsored drivers, most notably fellow-Austrians, Gerhard Berger and Karl Wendlinger.

Then, in 1995, Mateschitz bought a majority shareholding in Sauber, whilst also moving into other areas of motorsport, including Formula 3000, German Formula 3 and BMW Formula ADAC.

The relationship between Mateschitz and Sauber came to a messy end when the Austrian opposed the Swiss team boss' signing of a youngster who had taken part in just 23 single-seater races... Kimi Raikkonen. To be fair, Mateschitz wasn't the only sceptic, indeed, FIA President, Max Mosley, insisted that the young Finn be given a provisional licence, such was the feeling in F1 that Raikkonen was too inexperienced to be racing at such a level.

Mateschitz sold his shares in Sauber and almost immediately began looking for his own team, taking time out to get involved in IRL, courtesy of Eddie Cheever's race team.

When, in late 2004, Ford announced that it was pulling out of F1, it seemed obvious that Red Bull would snap up its team, but Mateschitz opted to play 'hard ball', leaving the purchase until the last possible moment.

On Monday November 15, just days before the 2005 entry deadline, Ford confirmed that Red Bull had bought Jaguar Racing, while Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, co-owners of the Champ Car World Series and heads of the PKV and Forsythe Championship Racing Champ Car teams, respectively, had bought Cosworth.

It wasn't long before the new Austrian owner was making his presence felt at Milton Keynes, with Tony Purnell and David Pitchforth being dumped in favour of Arden International boss Christian Horner, just days after the Christmas Party.

David Coulthard had already been recruited as number one driver, but the team seemed unable to decide on who should support him. Mateschitz favoured, fellow-Austrian, Christian Klien, however, F3000 Champion, Tonio Liuzzi, who had won his title with Arden, courtesy of Red Bull sponsorship, was also in the frame. Throw into the mix Scott Speed, a product of the (over?) ambitious Red Bull Driver Search Programme, designed to discover American F1 talent, and it was soon a case of too many drivers for too few seats. But more of that later.

Red Bull would have you believe that it is all about fun, fun, fun, but the reality is that like any other business it is out to make money, and part of that process is world domination, at least as far as its particular product is concerned.

Red Bull has targeted a particular consumer group, and for the time being, Formula One, along with other adventure sports, is the best way to attract that group's attention.

Anyone who has any doubts as to how ruthless Red Bull can be when it comes to business only has to look at the way Purnell and Pitchforth were dumped, much of this down to Dietrich Mateschitz' 'personal rottweiler', Helmut Marko.

2005 began well enough, as the Milton Keynes based outfit benefited from the Jaguar Racing inheritance. However, as the season progressed, the team didn't.

The choice of David Coulthard was inspired, though Pitchforth and Purnell had already done much of the groundwork before their firing - indeed Mateschitz had previously said that the Scot was "not an option". As it happened however, DC was given a new lease of life, and responded in style.

The situation on the other side of the garage however, was, frankly, ludicrous, with the team unable to decide on Christian Klien or Tonio Liuzzi, the end result being that nobody benefited, not least the 'hot shot' Italian.

Ahead of the 2006 season, Red Bull stunned the paddock with two major signings, design guru Adrian Newey leaving McLaren for the Austrian owned team, followed, shortly afterwards, by the Woking team's chief aerodynamicist, Peter Prodromou.

Neither would have any input in the RBR2, the team's first self-penned car, other than a few tweaks as the season developed. That said, just weeks before the start of the season Pitpass heard that all was not well within the team and that Newey might have to introduce the RBR3 earlier than planned.

Although the season got off to a good start, by the end of the year it was going through the motions, desperate for the new year, which meant new (Renault) engines and a Newey chassis.

Red Bull's lack of form wasn't helped by the fact that the team had punched well above its weight the previous season, helped by some stirring performances from Coulthard.

In addition to the RB2 not working well with the Ferrari V8 the Milton Keynes outfit fell victim to a problem of its own creation, having sided with the Italian team regarding the reintroduction of in-race tyre stops, a move which really only suited one team.

Although locked in to a two-year deal with Maranello, Red Bull was already looking at an alternative, and in much the same way as it saw fit to juggle drivers, chose to negotiate a deal which would see the Italian powerplants dumped on Toro Rosso - which Mateschitz had now bought - while Newey's RB3 would be fitted with the championship winning Renault unit.

2006 was about limiting the damage and trying to get through the season as best it could, in the firm hope that - thanks to Newey and Renault - salvation was at hand in 2007.

The season highlight - in a year of absolute lows - was Coulthard's inspired performance at Monaco, the Scot giving the Austrian team its first podium.

It was to be expected that the team would not get through a whole season without at least one episode of musical chairs, and therefore it came as no surprise when Christian Klien was dumped with three races remaining, Robert Doornbos being promoted from test driver to a full race seat for the second successive season.

For 2007, Coulthard was joined by Mark Webber, giving the 'yoof orientated' outfit one of the oldest line-ups on the grid.

In addition to Coulthard and Webber, Red Bull had the engine deal with Renault. Therefore, the first all-Adrian Newey car would have the benefit of a championship winning engine, seemingly the perfect combination.

It was on the way back from one of the first major tests of the year that Newey realised there was a calibration problem with the team's windtunnel, a problem that was to set the team back by more than a month. Nonetheless, Newey persisted, being the driving force behind the Milton Keynes outfit throughout the year, pushing his design team and engineers constantly, thinking two or three races ahead.

The key problem for Red Bull in 2007 was reliability, or rather the lack of it. The main problem was the transmission, but there were also retirements due to the brakes, hydraulics, driveshaft and differential. It comes as no surprise that the RB3 was one of the most unreliable cars out there, completing only 74% of the season's race laps.

Newey was baffled and frustrated by the failures: "We've had a lot of reoccurring problems," he said, "which is always the thing in F1 which is not excusable. Problems do happen, but the golden rule is making sure they don't happen again, and we didn't achieve that. Is it manufacturing, quality control or packaging? Tick all the boxes really".

Whereas the Austrian team should have been capable of mixing it with the midfield group, with Williams and Renault, it struggled, scoring just 6 points in the first 9 races. Both drivers profited from the freak race in Germany, giving the team it's only double points finish, indeed, one of only four double finishes, of the entire season.

There was a late-season improvement following the test at Jerez, which saw points scored in three successive races, but it was too little too late. Coulthard finished the season in tenth place with 14 points, while Webber finished twelfth on ten. In the Constructors' Championship, the team finished fifth, an improvement on 2006, but, in all honesty, not where the Austrian outfit expected to be and not where it ought to be considering its budget.

For 2008, Coulthard and Webber were both retained, with Swiss newcomer Sebastien Buemi recruited as test driver. With several other key appointments, most notably Newey's former colleague Geoff Willis, it was widely expected the team would make a serious step forward.

Ahead of the season our sources at Milton Keynes assured us that the team was confident it had sorted many of its reliability issues, including the gearbox, a particular worry in 2008 considering the new four-race rule.

As it happens, reliability was much improved, with the RB4 only failing to finish eight times over the course of the season, only twice due a genuine technical problem. However, despite a strong start to the year the Milton Keynes outfit lost ground in the latter stages, ironically finding itself totally overshadowed by its 'sister' team.

While the RB4 looked much like its predecessor, appearances were deceptive, most notably courtesy of an all-new gearbox.

The RB3 had a long wheelbase but the RB4's was even longer, allowing the team to move the weight distribution forwards. Indeed, in this department the Austrian team had the edge over its rivals for it meant better aerodynamic efficiency. That said, the downside meant the car was not impressive in slow corners where it struggled for traction.

While Singapore was the team's first mechanical retirement of the season, the oil leak in Germany not really counting, it should not be forgotten that the team suffered a number of suspension failures, most notably in Australia after Coulthard made contact with Massa. There was another failure in Malaysia when the wishbones disintegrated after Coulthard hit a kerb, the team subsequently admitting that it was slow to react to an obvious problem.

The other problem for the Milton Keynes team was the Renault powerplant, which lost more and more ground to its rivals as the season progressed. With Toro Rosso using the same chassis, albeit with a totally different set-up and different braking systems, the Renault's power deficit was notable when compared to the Ferrari.

By and large it was a poor season for Coulthard who had more than his fair share of incidents over the course of the year, even what was to be his final Grand Prix ended at the first corner. However, a typically mature performance in Canada saw the Scotsman finish third, giving the team its best result of the season.

The first half of the season was good for Webber, who scored points in seven of the first nine races. However, as the team lost ground in the latter stages of the season, the Australian had to battle for whatever scraps he could find.

The raft of new regulations for 2009 were a godsend for Adrian Newey, who was finally able to make his mark at Milton Keynes. For a start the RB5 looked good, Newey demonstrating that the new breed of F1 car didn't have to be ugly.

However, looks aside, the RB5 was radical, not least in terms of returning to pull-rod rear suspension. Newey interpreted the new rules brilliantly, lowering the centre of gravity and using the profiled upper wishbone to add extra downforce. In short, the RB5 was a masterpiece, however, Newey has missed out on one little trick… the double diffuser.

That said, in the opening part of the season, the RB5 gave the Brawn a run for its money, and once the double diffuser was given the all-clear by the FIA, and the Milton Keynes outfit was successfully running its own version, it was the Austrian car that led the way.

For the new season, Webber was joined by German hot-shot Sebastian Vettel, giving the team one of the most dynamic line-ups on the grid.

While both drivers finished well outside the points in Australia, a few weeks later in China the team claimed its first pole position and went on to score its first victory, indeed, it was a 1-2 with Vettel leading his Australian teammate home.

The double diffuser was introduced in time for Monaco but made no real impression. Indeed, despite the lack of time and resources in the weeks that followed the team was forced having to make all manner of changes to the car in order to get the best out of the new package. Consequently, by the time of the British Grand Prix the car was effectively the RB5B.

The fast flowing corners of the Northamptonshire track perfectly suited the Red Bull and it came as no surprise to see the team take another 1-2. A couple of weeks later the Milton Keynes outfit score another 1-2 this time Mark Webber doing the honours.

By this stage in the season Brawn was clearly suffering, the Brackley car proving uncompetitive in the cooler conditions. However, it wasn't all plain sailing for Red Bull, other than being hard on their tyres both drivers suffered more than their fair share of engine problems. Indeed, by the time of the Belgian GP Vettel had used his allocation of new units forcing his team into a 'mix and match' situation.

With an eye of the engine situation - Webber had used up his allocation by Brazil - the team had to resort to limiting its track time, though both drivers handled the situation admirably.

In the closing stages both drivers were in with a shout of claiming the title but a poor weekend in Italy ended all hopes for Webber while Vettel's challenge lasted just a few weeks longer.

The season ended with Red Bull second in the Constructors' Championship, 19 points down on Brawn, but with 6 wins, 5 poles and 6 fastest laps. Not a bad haul when you think about it.

Other than Brawn's early advantage, mainly courtesy of the double diffuser, it was poor reliability and the odd mistake that cost the Milton Keynes outfit any hope of robbing its Brackley rival of its fairytale result. In that one season, the Austrian outfit had moved up from the midfield to the big league, and they not only did it in style they looked as though they belonged there.

Webber and Vettel were retained for 2010, while, to the surprise of many, the Austrian outfit also opted to remain with Renault. Australian Daniel Ricciardo and New Zealander Brendon Hartley were recruited as test and reserve drivers, the pair alternating on a race by race basis.

Without doubt, the RB6 was the class of the 2010 grid. However, reliability issues, certainly during the early part of the season, not to mention over-enthusiasm on the part of its two drivers, meant the Milton Keynes outfit made hard work of winning both titles.

Adrian Newey made full use of the change in attitude towards double diffusers, essentially designing the car around the concept. As in 2009, the new Red Bull looked good, courtesy of a new longer, slimmer gearbox and the fact that Newey stuck with the rear suspension package introduced the previous year.

With Renault failing to make progress, Red Bull looked at an engine deal with Mercedes, however, and quite unsurprisingly, McLaren vetoed the move. The Austrian team also considered Cosworth but the Northamptonshire company didn't have the financial resources to develop the engine and Red Bull wasn't prepared to bankroll such a programme.

At the final pre-season test, the team played its ace card, reverting to a concept first introduced by Renault in the early 80s, the blown diffuser. In it attempts to fool its rivals, the Austrian team stuck dummy exhaust exits on the car, but few fell for it, certainly when it came to studying the stop-watch.

Despite its obvious superiority, a fact compounded by a convincing 1-2 in Malaysia, the third race of the season. Poor reliability and strategy meant that after the first four rounds the team trailed McLaren and Ferrari and was even under pressure from Mercedes.

However, once the European season got underway the RB6 finally began to show its class. Through Barcelona's fast sweeping corners it was mouthwateringly smooth, giving Webber his first win of the season, having taken pole the previous day.

Following Webber's win in Monaco, the team headed to Turkey feeling understandably confident, its rivals fearing that they were in for a long, hot summer. However, an incident on the fortieth lap of the race was to impact the team for the remainder of the season.

With Webber and Vettel looking set for a convincing 1-2, the team's third of the season. The German made a move on his Australian teammate. They clashed, the German eliminated on the spot, while Webber was able to struggle home in third. As Vettel walked away from the scene of the incident, gesticulating in a manner that made it clear he though his teammate was mad, the media got to work.

While the RB6 and the team's driver pairing had looked unbeatable, certainly on track, it now appeared that there were cracks beneath the surface. There was talk of a split within the team, rival camps, and as the sensational headlines continued fingers were pointed at the perceived trouble makers, Dietrich Mateschitz' motor sport advisor Helmut Marko usually appearing in the firing line.

The Red Bull PR machine spun into action, hosting a 'clear the air' get together for its drivers and issuing a couple of cringeworthy, totally staged, pictures that were meant to suggest 'nothing to see here, move along', but actually conveyed the totally opposite message.

Over the summer, the team carried on with its remorseless development programme, the drivers continued their remorseless battle for in-house supremacy, the media persisted with its remorseless speculation as to favouritism within the team and rivals complained remorselessly to the FIA over perceived irregularities including a flexing front wing.

Despite the obvious superiority of the RB6, the team and its drivers continued to shoot itself in the foot. At Silverstone Vettel picked up a puncture after running wide in the first corner and dropped to the back of the field. However, matters weren't helped when race-winner Webber took a wipe at Christian Horner over the team radio after crossing the line; "not bad for a number two", said the Australian, much to the Englishman's obvious embarrassment.

There was further embarrassment when it was revealed that after complaints about his own car, Vettel had been given his teammate's earlier in the season, while at Silverstone, having damaged his own front wing, the German had been given the replacement originally made for his teammate.

In Hungary, while running second, the German was penalised for leaving too big a gap between himself and the Safety Car. In Belgium Vettel made a needless challenge on Button which saw both eliminated, while in Korea Webber went out following a needless mistake and Vettel suffered a late engine failure.

As the season reached its climax, with five drivers still in with a shout, the internal spat continued, much to the delight of the media. While Webber had effectively blown his chances in Korea, he was still second in the championship behind Alonso. Therefore, going into the final race the big question was not only whether Red Bull would use team orders but whether its drivers would respect them.

As it happens, team orders weren't needed. A faultless performance from Vettel in Brazil was followed by an equally flawless drive in Abu Dhabi, while a disastrous strategy from Ferrari and a lacklustre performance from Alonso certainly helped.

In its sixth season, Red Bull had won the double. Vettel was quite rightly lauded, despite some of his sillier mistakes, but one couldn't help but fail to marvel at the wonder that is Adrian Newey, the man having added yet another title to an already mightily impressive CV.

Vettel pretty much set the precedent for the 2011 season in Melbourne, taking pole position with apparent ease and converting this in to a win the following day.

The German continued in Malaysia, taking pole from Hamilton in the dying moments of the session by just one tenth of a second and going on to win the race by three seconds from Jenson Button.

Having shown a remarkable improvement on 2010 in terms of mistakes, there was a rare error from Vettel in Canada, a last lap mistake allowing Button to take his first win of the season. That said, the constantly changing conditions in a race that goes down as the longest in F1 history, perfectly suited the Englishman.

Even the (temporary) ban on blown diffusers at Silverstone had little impact of the Red Bull/Sebastian Vettel steamroller, for although Alonso took the win - Ferrari's only win of the season - Vettel and Webber finished a strong second and third.

The inaugural Indian Grand Prix saw Vettel take pole, fastest lap and lead every lap of the race, the German showing no sign of easing up despite having already won the title.

In Abu Dhabi, Vettel equalled Nigel Mansell's record of fourteen pole positions in a season when he took pole. At the final race of the season in Brazil, Vettel broke Mansell's record, taking his fifteenth pole position of the season.

If 2010 was good, 2011 was an absolute tour de force, the team only suffering one retirement, and that due to damage caused by a damaged tyre in Abu Dhabi. The team led the way in reliability, completing 95.5% of the total season laps, while the pit work was amongst the best in the pitlane.

The only down side in 2011 was surely the team's failure to get its KERS working consistently, particularly in the early stages of the season, and further strategic errors.

Though the team won its third successive Constructors' (and Drivers') title in 2012, it didn't make things easy for itself.

Like its rivals, the Austrian outfit spent the first part of the season attempting to get to grips with the new Pirelli rubber however, matters were further complicated by the fact it no longer had the advantage of the blown diffuser.

Despite that, the team scored three wins in the first half of the season, ironically, two of them coming from Webber who had never quite got to grips with the advantage offered by the blown-diffuser the previous year.

However, in the second half of the season the team discovered the secrets of the 2012 rubber, not to mention overcoming the problem with its DRS, Vettel came into his own, the German scoring four straight wins that were to put him back in the thick of the title fight.

Not for the first time, the legality of Newey's creation was questioned, most notably the hole in the rear floor of the RB8 which passed numerous investigations by the official before finally being outlawed in Canada. Then there was the throttle mapping row which, again, saw the car declared legal only for the authorities to subsequently change the rules and force Red Bull to amend the car accordingly.

Despite the two wins in the opening stages of the season, Webber was unable to capitalise and once again was reduced to watching his teammate storm to the title. At a time many were linking the Australian with a move to Ferrari, the Austrian team retained him on a one-year deal, though his drop-off in the second half of the season probably had Helmut Marko wishing he hadn't jumped the gun.

Though Vettel took the title, becoming the youngest driver to win three successive titles, Fernando Alonso - in the underperforming Ferrari - was widely seen as the 'driver of the year', the 'peoples' champion' if you will.

Nonetheless, there were some inspired performances from the German, not least in Abu Dhabi and Brazil where he silenced many of those that still insisted he can only win from the front.

With the regulations largely unchanged, few were prepared to bet against Red Bull - now renamed Infiniti Red Bull Racing - and Vettel making it four in a row in 2013. Once again the German was partnered by Webber, as in 2012 the Australian retained on a one-year contract.

In Australia, Vettel put the RB9 on pole but struggled in the race eventually finishing 3rd, with Webber coming home in sixth. In Malaysia, Vettel again put the RB9 on pole, this time going on to covert it in to a win... but not without controversy. Against team orders, the German passed his teammate who was leading the race, breaking the so-called 'Multi 21' protocol. Webber's obvious frustration, not to mention Vettel's total lack of remorse, not only soured the relationship (such as it was) between the two but also damaged the German (still further) in the eyes of many race fans and the media.

In China, Vettel qualified 9th whilst Webber qualified 14th following an issue with his fuel pick up which caused him to stop the car on track. The team subsequently failed to give the stewards the required fuel sample therefore getting the Australian demoted to the back of the grid. While Vettel finished the race 4th, Webber's misery was compounded when a collision dislodged a wheel nut which led to him retiring.

For the remainder of the first half of the season Red Bull looked strong however, Ferrari and Mercedes were also clearly in hunt, even if Lotus had begun to lose its early shine.

At the British Grand Prix Webber, after weeks of rumour, Webber confirmed that he would be leaving F1 for Sports Cars at season end, while Vettel had already announced a new deal with Red Bull taking him through to the end of 2015, thereby ending talk of a move to Maranello.

The second half of the season was entirely different to the first. Following a number of incidents - possibly the understatement of all understatements - Pirelli had been forced to change its tyres. While the change greatly damaged some teams this was not the case with the RB9.

In Belgium, Vettel began a sequence of nine wins that gave him his fourth title, and Red Bull its fourth Constructors' Championship. A late surge also saw Webber claim third in the title fight, though the Australian had failed to score a single win.

At times Vettel's dominance was reminiscent of that of his countryman, Michael Schumacher, and similarly his success - and perceived arrogance - was not appreciated by the fans or media. Indeed, at a number of events the German was booed during and after the podium ceremony, many putting this down to his actions in Malaysia.

For 2014, Vettel was joined by another Australian, the ever smiling Daniel Ricciardo. In the wake of the German's domination, certainly in 2013, coupled with the manner in which he had seen off Webber it remained to be seen whether Vettel would break Ricciardo's spirit, or whether the Australian would be able to assert himself within the team.

The raft of new rules had most of the teams worried, and no doubt Adrian Newey's deeper than ever frown reflected this, that and a number of high profile 'defections' including; Head of Aerodynamics, Peter Prodromou, to McLaren and Chief Engineer Vehicle Dynamics, Mark Ellis, to Mercedes.

Considering where Red Bull (and Renault) began in 2014, the comeback was remarkable, even if the Austrian team found itself under increasing pressure from Williams in the final stages of the season.

The opening test at Jerez saw the team complete less mileage than any other, while the second test (in Bahrain) was little better. Though all the Renault powered teams were suffering, the RB10's problems were exacerbated by the tight packaging of the power unit.

The final test, again in Bahrain, showed a slight sign of improvement, but still Ricciardo remained 2.485s off (pace-setter) Felipe Massa's best, and reliability continued to cause concern.

Consequently, when Ricciardo finished second in the season opener, there were some who ventured that maybe the Austrian team had been sandbagging (for all three tests?), though teammate Vettel's retirement (engine) after just 4 laps appeared to paint the more accurate picture.

Interestingly, not for the first time, the stewards took a closer look at Ricciardo's RB10 and the Australian was subsequently disqualified for fuel irregularities.

A number of drivers had problems with the new regulations and none more so than Vettel, who struggled from the outset. Those who had previously opined that much of his success came from the fact that he had the best car will feel validated, especially when one compares the German's season to that of his new teammate.

On those rare occasions when Mercedes failed to deliver, there was Ricciardo to pick up the pieces, sometimes fortuitously, sometimes not (Hungary). Rather than being intimidated by his illustrious teammate, who famously said "tough luck" when told in Bahrain that Ricciardo was quicker, the Australian got on with the job in hand... and continued smiling.

Stat of the season, should proof be needed, Vettel only once actually led a race in 2014 – Singapore when Hamilton pitted.

On circuits where high downforce was essential the RB10 was strong but where pure grunt was needed it lost ground to almost all the Mercedes powered cars.

Having begun the season with a disqualification it was only right that one of the most consistently controversial teams of recent times should end the year in similar style, both drivers excluded from qualifying in Abu Dhabi due to a flexing front wing.

While Ricciardo, quite rightly, got the plaudits for the manner in which he stepped up to the plate and refused to be intimidated by his teammate - who at season end headed off to Ferrari - there was some great racing from the German particularly his battle with Fernando Alonso at Silverstone.

Ultimately, 2014 was a bit of a nightmare for the Austrian team which returned to earth with a bump after several years of domination. Though it ended the season runner-up, one wondered how it would fare in 2015, especially if Mercedes maintained its stance in terms of the engine unfreeze.

Whilst Ricciardo looked more than capable of assuming the leader's role from Vettel, it was noted that since Daniil Kvyat got the second seat, alongside the Australian, his performance had not been as impressive as earlier in 2014.

As feared, 2015 was not a good year for Red Bull. Ignoring its on-track weakness, there was the (none too) little matter of its constant complaining. Be it Renault, the rules or whatever; little wonder we took to Twitter to proclaim that 'Red Bull gives you whinge'.

In many ways, the Austrian outfit reverted to type. Whereas when it first entered the sport it was all about the pouting pit princesses - aka the Formula Una Girls - now it was about the pouting Mateschitz, Marko and Horner.

One can understand the frustration with Renault, but the constant, public criticism and threats didn't help matters. When the Milton Keynes based outfit was winning successive titles it was all down to Red Bull, when it was losing it was all down to Renault.

The continued threats to walk away from F1, insisting that the contract tying it to the sport until 2020 meant nothing, led many to wish they'd simply just get on with it and go… sprout wings and fly away, so to speak.

And as the threats and hissy fits continued, one was minded of the quiet dignity of Williams during its bad times, not forgetting McLaren's annus horribilis.

Pre-season testing looked somewhat promising, for while off the pace of the Mercedes - who wasn't! - the RB11 appeared to be holding its own in terms of the pack behind. However, once the season got underway it was clear that whilst Renault had improved its reliability, power (or the lack of it) was still a major issue.

Indeed, the season opener saw Kvyat stop on the way to the grid with a gearbox issue, whilst Ricciardo could only manage sixth, behind Nasr in the Sauber.

As the team struggled to resolve its power issues, and attention was focussed fully on slower tracks, it became clear that it was missing the input from Adrian Newey.

Fourth and fifth was a good result at the notoriously slow and twisty Monaco, though an issue with Ricciardo's engine settings in qualifying may well have cost the Australian a podium finish.

No surprises that another slow and twisty track, the Hungaroring, saw the team takes its biggest points haul of the year. Indeed, but for a clash with Rosberg which necessitated an extra stop for a front wing, Ricciardo might well have finished second.

Starting from the front row in Singapore, another track which clearly suited the RB11, Ricciardo really needed the help a Safety Car if he was to take the fight to his former teammate. Sadly, in the absence of a Nelson Piquet type mishap, it never happened.

As the team continued its very public criticism of Renault, then found itself turned down by Mercedes and Ferrari, Ricciardo and Kvyat gamely battled on.

A convincing drive in Monaco was followed by another excellent performance in Hungary, thereby giving Kvyat (and Russia) its first F1 podium. Then there was Austin, a race he might even have won, only to crash out whilst battling Rosberg on the final lap of the race.

Despite the hootin' and hollerin', Red Bull finally found an engine package for 2016, and 2016 only. After all that whinging, the Austrian outfit found itself having to eat a large helping of humble pie and stick with Renault, albeit badged as a Tag Heuer.

Turned down by Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull's threats to leave F1 even got FIA president Jean Todt to shift his backside, the Frenchman joining Bernie Ecclestone in calling for a new independent engine supplier - a traditional 'smoke 'n' mirrors' move aimed at making the existing manufacturers agree to their terms.

Interestingly, when Renault finally introduced its upgraded engine, in Brazil, only Ricciardo used it. Then again, the unit actually proved to be less powerful than its predecessor, causing the Australian to revert to the old unit for the final race.

Despite the hootin' and hollerin', Red Bull finally found an engine package for 2016, and 2016 only. After all that whinging, the Austrian outfit found itself having to eat a large helping of humble pie and stick with Renault, albeit badged as a Tag Heuer.

Turned down by Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull's threats to leave F1 even got FIA president Jean Todt to shift his backside, the Frenchman joining Bernie Ecclestone in calling for a new independent engine supplier - a traditional 'smoke 'n' mirrors' move aimed at making the existing manufacturers agree to their demands.

Interestingly, when Renault finally introduced its upgraded engine, in Brazil, only Ricciardo used it. Then again, the unit actually proved to be less powerful than its predecessor, causing the Australian to revert to the old unit for the final race.

Following months of speculation Renault finally bought the struggling Lotus team, and as the French manufacturer set about its latest venture as a constructor, one couldn't help but wonder how this might impact its engine development not only in terms of the works team but customers like Red Bull.

While the eleventh hour purchase of Lotus meant that as a team Renault was on a hiding to nothing, the engine boys at Viry did a sterling job, much to Red Bull's delight and benefit.

On the back of 2015 and its failings both on track and in terms of threats to the sport, the Austrian team will have come into 2016 expecting very little, hoping upon hope that it might be in a position to battle with Williams for third as Ferrari sought about closing the gap to Mercedes.

The first few races did little to dispel this line of thinking, Kvyat failing to make it to the Melbourne grid for the second successive year and then suffering a number of close encounters with Sebastian Vettel, which, if nothing else, led to one of the greatest put downs ever witnessed in the podium ante-room.

Pulling up Kvyat for a first lap incident which saw Vettel hit his Ferrari teammate putting him into a spin, the German accused the Russian of a stupid move.

"You crash into all three of us," snarled Vettel. "You came like a torpedo!"

"That's racing," grinned Kvyat.

The pair subsequently renewed their close association in Sochi a couple of weeks later, while Ricciardo got his season underway with a string of fourth places.

Then came Spain.

In the same way that Barcelona marked a watershed moment for Mercedes, so too Red Bull can look back on that particular weekend as a real game changer.

Despite his podium finish in China, and perhaps influenced by those two clashes with its former protege Vettel, the Austrian team opted to return Kvyat to Toro Rosso while promoting Max Verstappen to the 'big team'. It was to prove a historic decision, literally.

Having already impressed on his debut a year earlier, young Max now took the world by storm. Courtesy of the Mercedes demolition derby on lap 1, the Red Bulls looked set to pull off one of the biggest shocks of the season, Ricciardo and his new teammate taking a 1-2.

However, concerned at the pace of the Ferraris, the team put its drivers on different strategies and while this worked against the Australian, his teenage teammate was able to take victory on his debut with the Austrian team, thereby becoming the youngest race winner in the history of F1.

Sadly, a team error was to rob Ricciardo two weeks later in Monaco, the Australian seemingly destined to make it two in a row for the Milton Keynes based outfit. Finishing second in a race which was his, the sight of Ricciardo on the Monaco podium, holding his trophy like a heartbroken schoolkid, it was impossible not to feel pity for the popular Aussie, for once that infectious grin replaced by a look of utter despair and loss.

As ever, Red Bull had been busy behind the scenes. Having pushed hard for the new aero regulations for 2017 the Austrian team was also keen to wrap up regulations intended at converging engine performance, two areas where it felt the gap to Mercedes could be closed on track with a little help from political manoeuvring in the offices of the powers that be.

Even though it was looking ahead to 2017, there were some updates, though most of these came from Renault.

Talking of which, remember all those threats about leaving the sport? Well, they were only joking.

Yes, you heard that right. Even though early in 2016 Dietrich Mateschitz was still threatening to walk away from the sport unless... it turned out he was only messing about.


Courtesy of those updates, not to mention having one of the strongest driver pairings, though unable to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes, Red Bull was at least able to leave Ferrari for dust and claim runner-up sport.

After the disappointment of Spain and Monaco, Ricciardo finally got his win in Malaysia, albeit courtesy of Hamilton's late engine failure, the Australian subjecting the world - and subsequently actor Gerard Butler and several of his racing rivals - to the infamous 'shoey'.

Coming off the back of a hugely disappointing 2015, and with such obvious low expectations for the new season, finishing runner-up was a massive result for Red Bull.

However, the real pay-off could come in 2017 as the team, armed with its enviable driver line-up, an ever improving engine, Adrian Newey and regulations that were almost custom made, the Austrian team must fancy its chances.

On the other hand, though quick to attack Renault, the Austrian team rarely complimented the French manufacturer on its improvements; odd when one considers the failure of 2015 almost drove it out of the sport. Or not.

For 2017 the Renault engines continued to be badged Tag Heuer while sister team Toro Rosso was also understood to be seeking an alternative name for its power units.

The Austrian team continued to involve itself in the political machinations of the sport, cleverly using its sister outfit to play the other side of the fence, but just as importantly it was going to be interesting to see how the relationship between Ricciardo and Verstappen would develop. Or not.

For much of 2016 it had been all smiles, but as we saw during the Vettel/Webber era, things can quickly change, and it was going to be interesting to see how the ever grinning Aussie accepted the situation as young Max forced his feet further and further under the table.

From the outset the Austrian team has made much of its 'unique' approach to F1, its irreverence, it's whacky sense of humour - yet has anyone else noticed that at the merest hint of an issue the team's social media presence goes into hiding?

To the accompaniment of Stevie Wonder's 70s classic, Superstition, Red Bull showed sneak images of its 2017 contender, the RB13. While triskaidekaphobia's everywhere grimaced, the team poo-pooed the notion that it was tempting fate, dismissing such things as black cats, broken mirrors and ladders.

However, reflecting on a season in which Ricciardo only finished 14 of the 20 races he started and teammate Verstappen just 13, between them completing just 72% of the 2,392 laps that comprised the season, one must wonder if the team feels it was correct in tempting fate so openly. Indeed, as we look ahead to the 13th Toro Rosso chassis it will be interesting to see if the Faenza outfit also thinks it wise to push its luck... especially with a Honda in the back.

Of course, 2017 wasn't all about luck, while Verstappen's early elimination in Spain and Singapore were mainly the result of others over enthusiasm, many of his DNF's - and those of his teammate - were down to the poor reliability of the Renault engine.

Indeed, almost in a sign of pay back, Lady Luck had it that the Dutchman spent much of the first part of the season watching the races from the sidelines, while his teammate suffered his purple patch at the end. "They're not laughing any more", sang The Call's Michael Been in the excellent 1980s single The Walls Came Down.

Despite 3 wins, the Austrian team finished 300 points down on Mercedes and 154 down on Ferrari, Ricciardo losing fourth in the driver standings at the final race when his hydraulics gave up.

The drivers formed arguably one of the strongest pairings on the grid, Ricciardo confirming his reputation as king of the overtakes and Verstappen giving further glimpses of his bravery and what we might expect when given the right equipment.

Returning to the subject of luck, around mid-season Renault appeared to have sorted its reliability issues, only for them to return in the latter stages, albeit with a different driver.

The pace of the car meant that qualifying was a struggle and therefore the Austrian cars regularly started from the third row. However, in race trim, and with Daniel and Max giving their all, the RB13 regularly punched above its weight come Sunday.

As ever, other than the drivers, much of this was down to the team's aero department which produced a basic package and subsequent upgrades that would have struck fear into the hearts of Mercedes and Ferrari had the Austrian team had a better power unit in the back… no wonder both baulked at the idea of supplying their rival.

For 2018 the team would have a new title sponsor in Aston Martin, and while this should eventually bear fruit, for the time being the Austrian outfit is stuck with the Renault engine. That said, it could get worse, for at the end of 2018 the French manufacturer will stop supplying Red Bull which could mean a switch to Honda, which sister-team Toro Rosso will experiment with this season.

To the surprise of many, Verstappen signed a new three-year deal with the team, while Ricciardo had yet to reveal his plans post-2018.

2018 was likely to be a tough season for Red Bull. While its drivers would continue to give their all and the team would no doubt produce a strong chassis, despite having moved on to RB14 the team was likely to find itself cursing its luck on more than a few occasions.

Indeed, it was a season very much of two halves for the Austrian team and its two drivers, albeit for different reasons.

Virtually reduced to the role of spectators in Melbourne, Ricciardo and Verstappen could only look on as, too quick to battle with the midfielders, the RB14 was nowhere near to matching the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari. Of course, the situation wasn't helped when a mistake from the Dutchman allowed Alonso through to claim a surprise fifth.

Verstappen had a torrid start to his season, crashing needlessly in qualifying in Bahrain, then retiring early in the race following a clash with Hamilton. While teammate Ricciardo claimed the team's first win of the season in China, Verstappen clashed with Vettel, but worse was to follow.

In Baku, having been passed by his teammate, Verstappen warned the team about his tyres, but shortly after the Australian pitted the Dutchman's lap times began to improve. A couple of laps later the team suffered a double DNF when the pair collided as Verstappen refused to yield to his (quicker) teammate.

By now 'at war' with the media, which had accused him of being tempestuous in some of his tactics, Verstappen's mood worsened when Ricciardo took pole and then a lights to flag victory in Monaco.

However, that was the turning point of the season, for while the Australian was never to stand atop the podium again, Verstappen went from strength to strength.

In 2017, Pitpass had opined that it would make sense for Red Bull to partner with Honda, and in June 2018 so it came to be.

However, while the Austrian team patted itself on the back over the new deal, and ramped up the invective in terms of Renault, the team was dealt a blow when Ricciardo revealed that for 2019 he would be jumping ship to the French outfit.

Just a couple of weeks before the announcement, Verstappen had claimed his first win of the season - at Red Bull's own circuit - and while the youngster enjoyed a strong run-in to the season, claiming podiums in seven of the final nine races, by an amazing coincidence his Australian teammate suffered six DNFs from eleven outings.

Despite the obvious strengths of the RB14, its power deficit meant there were only certain tracks at which it could realistically compete, while at the others it would be forced to play a Melbourne-like role in the netherworld behind Mercedes and Ferrari but ahead of the rest.

A convincing, and well-deserved, win in Mexico was almost followed by a follow-up in Brazil, until Verstappen got entangled with back-marker Ocon. The Dutchman did himself no favours by subsequently earning himself public service duty after seeking down and shoving the Frenchman in the moments after the race.

Looking ahead to 2019, while we could expect the RB15 to be up to the usual standard, it remained to be seen how the Honda performed. Though the Japanese manufacturer took a significant step forward with Toro Rosso in 2018, would it be enough to please a team not known for its patience.

Then there was the driver line-up, and other than the infectious charm of Ricciardo, the team would surely miss his calming effect. Indeed, with Pierre Gasly stepping up to partner Verstappen, neither driver known for their easy going attitude, Messrs Horner and Marko were likely to have their hands full.

In pre-season testing Red Bull was infuriating, like Mercedes opting to give little away. Indeed, it is hard to recall if Verstappen ran on anything other than mediums over the whole eight days.

The toxic marriage to Renault at an end, Red Bull was expecting much of its new love, and Honda delivered.

While the Austrian team spent the year continually developing its car, so too the Japanese manufacturer was constantly developing its power unit.

Admittedly, the team was one of several seemingly caught on the back foot by the front wing regulations. Indeed, it was really not until a revised version was fitted in Austria that the team got on top of the problem.

While Verstappen's dismissal of Vettel in Melbourne was clear proof of the progress that Honda had made, it was some time before the entire package came together, but when it did...

Ferrari's own issues saw Verstappen begin the season with a podium, but it was Barcelona before he repeated the feat. And then came Austria.

While Verstappen's move on Leclerc was questionable, Austria signalled that Red Bull - and Honda - was back. A few weeks later, the Dutchman claimed the first pole of his F1 career, with further poles in Mexico and Brazil.

Verstappen also proved victorious in the madness that was Hockenheim, while taking a well-deserved win in Brazil, scene of his silliness just twelve months earlier.

With Honda continuing to develop its engine in terms of reliability and performance, this meant the team suffered more than its fair share of grid penalties, but for the most part Red Bull took this on the chin, after all it was reaping the benefits of the Japanese manufacturer’s determination to improve.

While nobody appeared sorry to see the back of Renault - Marko, Horner and Verstappen never missing an opportunity to take a swipe at their old partner - the same cannot be said of Daniel Ricciardo.

With Gasly seemingly out of his depth, and consequently dropped at the start of the summer break, rookie Alex Albon was brought in from Toro Rosso. Though the Thai did brilliantly - as did Gasly back at Toro Rosso - the team clearly missed Ricciardo in terms of his calming influence, his experience and his talent. How ironic that he had chosen 'old flame' Renault as his new partner.

While Red Bull made a determined effort to improve, and did take a significant step forward, it will have to dig deep in 2020. Though the RB15 definitely had its moments, it took the team far too long to get there, and for that brief period that Ferrari ruled the roost, the Austrian team was very much third best again.

After the disappointment of McLaren, Honda will have breathed a sigh of relief that its first season with Toro Rosso went fairly well, certainly enough to persuade Red Bull to take the plunge.

Though there is continued speculation over the futures of a number of manufacturers, and Honda having made clear that costs need to be curbed, those three wins will have done wonders. Indeed, in the wake of Verstappen's win in Austria, the relief was clear, as Honda bosses openly wept in joy.

Honda became the first manufacturer to commit to F1 post-2020, albeit for just one season, but Helmut Marko believes that 2019's success, coupled with the fact that Verstappen has agreed a new deal to stay until the end of 2023, should be enough to persuade the Japanese giant to hang around a while longer.

Though Mercedes remains the benchmark and Ferrari continues to do what it always does - and that's not a positive thing - Red Bull and Honda have the opportunity to finally take the fight to its German rival in terms of a sustained title bid.

That said, with the big three already focussing on 2021, 2020 is going to be all about spending and strength, and in that department the Three Pointed Star would appear to have the advantage.


Chairman: Dietrich Mateschitz

Team Principal: Christian Horner

Chief Technical Officer: Adrian Newey

Technical Director: Pierre Wache

Chief Engineering Officer: Rob Marshall

Head of Aerodynamics: Dan Fallows

Chief Engineer, Car Engineering: Paul Monaghan

Head of Electronics: Paul Everington

Race Team Manager: Jonathan Wheatley

Head of Race Engineering: Guillaume Rocquelin

Test Team Manager: Tony Burrows

Motorsports Consultant Helmut Marko

Deputy Head of Performance Engineering: Benjamin Waterhouse

Race Engineer (Ricciardo): Simon Rennie
No 1 Race Mechanic (Ricciardo): Chris Gent
Race Engineer (Kvyat): Gianpiero Lambiase
No 1 Race Mechanic (Kvyat): Lee Stevenson

Chief Mechanic: Phil Turner

Trackside Power Unit Leader (Renault): David Mart

Head of Red Bull Relations and Events: Marcus Prosser

Head of Partnerships: Guy Richards

Head of Hospitality: Georgina Russell

Head of Communications: Ben Wyatt

Head of Marketing: Oliver Hugues

Head of Technical Partnerships: Zoe Chilton

Communications Manager: Victoria Lloyd
Communications Manager: James Ranson



Chassis: Carbon-epoxy composite structure designed by regulation and built in-house

Transmission: Eight-speed gearbox, longitudinally mounted with hydraulic system for power shift and clutch operation / Red Bull Racing

Wheels: OZ Racing



Front: Aluminium alloy uprights, carbon fibre composite double wishbones with pushrods / pullrods springs, anti-roll bar and dampers with pushrods, springs, anti-roll bar and dampers

Rear: Aluminium alloy uprights, carbon fibre composite double wishbones with pushrods / pullrods springs, anti-roll bar and dampers with pushrods, springs, anti-roll bar and dampers


Electronics: MESL standard electronic control unit / Honda Racing Development

Fuel: Esso Synergy

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