Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing came into existence late in 2004 with ambitions to challenge for race victories and world championship titles. Christian Horner was appointed team principal soon after and has guided the development of the team ever since.
This was not the work of a moment. Over the next four seasons, solid foundations were laid. The team recruited in both quantity and quality, steadily expanding until it was capable of going toe-to-toe with the most illustrious names in racing.
The team finished comfortably mid-table in 2005 and 2006. The initial driver line-up mixed youth and experience: David Coulthard provided the latter, while Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Robert Doornbos were the former. DC scored our first podium, finishing third at the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix.
For 2007, Mark Webber came onboard to join DC. The team finished fifth that year but dropped back to seventh again in 2008, although everything was going to change in 2009.
David Coulthard retired at the end of 2008 to be replaced by Sebastian Vettel. Seb’s arrival coincided with a major reset in the sport’s aerodynamic regulations. The new rules gave the technical team the chance to shine. With the RB5, they produced a winner: Vettel took Red Bull Racing’s first victory, leading home Webber in a 1-2 finish at the Chinese Grand Prix. The car would win five more times in 2009, including Webber’s debut F1 victory at the Nürburgring. The team finished second in the Constructors’ Championship but, perhaps more significantly, it won the final three races of the season. Strong in-season development is a hallmark of the team, the origin story of which largely begins here.
History was made in 2010. Driving the RB6, Webber and Vettel were title contenders from the start. Their consistent podium finishes secured the Constructors’ Championship at the penultimate round in Brazil. Both drivers went to the final race in Abu Dhabi with a shot at the Drivers’ crown. Vettel emerged triumphant, winning the race to become the sports’ youngest ever World Champion. A record that still stands.
The RB7 and Vettel dominated 2011. He took 11 of the team’s dozen victories and won his second Drivers’ title with four races to spare. The Constructors’ title was confirmed with three races remaining.
The competition fought back in 2012, the first seven races went to seven different winners representing five different manufacturers. Red Bull Racing were, however, relentless in the second half of the season, winning the development battle, and clinching both titles once again: the Constructors’ title secured at the penultimate race in Austin, with the Drivers’ title being won by Vettel at a dramatic season finale in Brazil.
In 2013, the RB9 looked like the class leader straight out of the box, but somehow never seemed to produce what it promised in the early exchanges. That changed after the mid-season break when Vettel went on a rampage, setting a record with nine consecutive victories, securing both titles at the Indian Grand Prix, with three races to spare. Mark Webber retired from F1 at the end of the season, to be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo.
The 2014 season saw reality bite as the new hybrid power units heralded a change. Saddled with a sizeable horsepower deficit the RB10 lacked the competitive edge enjoyed by its predecessors. Nevertheless, the car was still good enough to provide Daniel Ricciardo with his first, second and third Formula One victories. He finished third in the Drivers’ Championship while the team was second in the Constructors’.
Sebastian Vettel departed at the end of 2014 to be replaced by Daniil Kvyat, though 2015 was a rare winless season for Red Bull Racing. A very narrow performance envelope made the early races a trial, and while the team improved the car mid-season, the damage was done and we dropped to fourth in the standings, our lowest placing since 2008.
Things improved in 2016, however. The team finished second in the Constructors’ Championship and Ricciardo was third in the Drivers’ table again, though the name on everyone’s lips was that of Max Verstappen. The young Dutchman was promoted from Toro Rosso to replace Kvyat after four races of the season. He got off to the best start possible, winning his first race at the Spanish Grand Prix. Ricciardo added a second victory in Malaysia.
2017 saw the RB13 struggle early on before characteristic in-season development improved the competitive position. Daniel managed a mid-season sequence of five podium finishes in a row, including victory in Azerbaijan. It was, however, later in the year that the car started to look genuinely rapid, with Max taking victories in Malaysia and Mexico. The team finished third in the Constructors’ Championship, as it would for the next two seasons.
2018 produced similar results, the RB14 was dialled in from the start of the season but a horsepower deficit hampered performance. Nevertheless, Daniel was able to take a dramatic victory in China and enjoy the prestige of winning in Monaco. Max also took two victories that year: finally, victory at the Austrian Grand Prix on home soil at the Red Bull Ring, followed by another dominant performance at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City.
Change, however, was on the way. The team announced it would end an 11-year association with Renault and would become a Honda-powered outfit for 2019. Shortly after, Daniel Ricciardo said that he would also be departing. His move saw Pierre Gasly rewarded for his exceptional performance at Toro Rosso with a promotion to the senior team for 2019.
Honda’s spell as our engine partner got off to a good start with a podium for Max in Australia. He took a first Honda-powered victory at the Red Bull Ring and followed it with a victory on a wet day in Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix. The following race he took his first pole position, starting P1 in Hungary. After the summer break, Alex Albon and Pierre swapped seats, with Alex being promoted from Toro Rosso. Max won again in Brazil, while a strong campaign saw Alex claim the Rookie of the Year trophy at the end of season awards.
The two drivers returned in 2020, however the season was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The truncated 17-race calendar eventually began in July. While the primary success of the season was having any sort of a season at all, it also afforded Max the opportunity to shine. While his season was blighted by five DNFs, every race he finished in the RB16 was rewarded with a trophy, ending the year with 12 top-three finishes, including victories in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone and the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The latter provided a welcome boost going into an unusual off-season in which wholesale changes to the car were prohibited. There was, however, changes in the driver line-up with Sergio Pérez coming in and Alex stepping back to become our Test and Reserve Driver.
The RB16B, looked quick from the off, with Max on pole at the first race of the season, his first of 13 in the 22-race calendar. He finished an enthralling race in P2, but took his first victory of the season next time out, at Imola. It was to be the first of ten victories for Max, the last of which came in unusual, dramatic and nail-biting circumstances at the season-finale in Abu Dhabi. It clinched the Drivers’ Championship for Max. Checo, meanwhile, enjoyed a first victory for us at a hectic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, helping the team to second in the Constructors’ Championship.
Red Bull Racing’s first title since 2013 also closes the book on a long-standing set of technical regulations. 2022 heralds the beginning of a new aerodynamic philosophy for F1 and promises to reshape the sport. The RB18 in which Max and Checo will contest the season looks very different to its predecessors, but perhaps the biggest change is not visible to the naked eye. With Honda departing, the team breaks new ground this year with Red Bull Powertrains providing our very first in-house engine. Everything changes this year.