We love heros and they teams they work in, RedBull Racing is top of our list. Christian Horner and Max Verstappen are playing to win, enjoying every step of the mission.
Formula One is a team sport. Individual performances can change races – but championships are won by the best team. This has always been the case – though the complexity of the modern car combined with the shortness of timescales and ferocity of competition make it now more relevant than ever.
Red Bull Racing came into existence late in 2004 with ambitions to challenge for grand prix victories and world championship titles – but this is not the work of a moment and at the time the team had neither…
TEAM STATS – 58 WINS – 58 POLES – 154 PODIUMS – 59 FASTEST LAPS – 4 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
CHRISTIAN HORNER a true HERO
Since its 2005 inception, through multiple Formula 1 championship wins and into the next phase of Red Bull Racing’s growth, one man has been charged with directing the efforts of our hugely talented teams at the trackside and at our Milton Keynes factory – Christian Horner.
Christian’s path to the top rung of the Formula One management ladder began behind the wheel, as a talented young racer. However, after stints in Formula Renault, British F3 and Formula 2, Christian realised his skills lay not in the cockpit of a racing car but at the helm of a team itself, and in the following years he built his own Arden International race team into a junior motorsport powerhouse.
He guided the squad to three consecutive Drivers’ and Team Championships, a record remarkable enough to bring him to the attention of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, and when the drinks company took the radical step of setting up its own Formula One team for the 2005 season, it turned to Horner to run the operation.
Over the next four seasons, Christian worked assiduously to assemble a team capable of challenging for major honours. The recruitment of Adrian Newey as Chief Technical Officer was the most obvious coup, but the policy of placing the right people in the right positions was applied across the team, and by the start of the 2009 campaign the team was ideally placed to make a serious challenge.
The team took its first win, and its first 1-2 victory, at the Chinese Grand Prix in 2009. From there the floodgates opened. Six wins and second place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2009 became nine victories and Team and Drivers’ title winners in 2010. Three more double crowns followed over the next three campaigns, putting the team in an exclusive club of just three teams to take four or more constructors’ titles consecutively.
The 2014 season, however, began a period of transition for the team as the sport introduced hybrid, turbocharged 1.6 litre power units. The shift put the team at a distinct power disadvantage and over the next three seasons success came intermittently.
It was, once again, a time to rebuild and reinforce and personnel changes were matched by a reinvigoration of the driver line-up, with Australian hotshot Daniel Ricciardo joining the team in 2014 and Dutch racing wunderkid Max Verstappen being drafted into the squad last season.
The mix of focused continuity and fresh blood worked to boost the team back to front-running status in 2016 and the team finished as Constructors’ Championship runners up thanks to Max’s first career win (on his first race weekend with the team) and Ricciardo’s superb fourth career grand prix victory, at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The 2017 season, the first to be run to a new set of technical regulations appeared to offer the same kind of opportunity that in 2009 had put the team on the path to title glory, but across the year the team’s RB13 car was dogged by reliability problems. Wins for Ricciardo in Azerbaijan and Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico, allied to a remarkable eight further podium finishes for Daniel pushed the team to third place in the Constructors’ Championship, but ultimately 2017 will be regarded as a bittersweet campaign.
Now the 2018 season beckons. At the end of 2017 the RB13 had achieved top-step levels of performance and with the regulations relatively stable of this season there is every hope that the team, armed with perhaps the finest driver pairing on the grid, can once again challenge for the biggest prizes. And there to drive the process forward will be Christian Horner.
MAX VERSTAPPEN #KEEPPUSHING