It's fair to say that there were a few raised eyebrows when Red Bull bought Jaguar in November, 2004. Many people thought they were in the sport just to promote their products. How wrong are they now?

Fast forward to 2010, and both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel still remain in contention to be crowned F1 World Champion this year. Just shows you how far the team has come. Where are the critics now?

It has been an eventful 2010 season not only for Red Bull, but for the whole paddock. Red Bull's season could so easily have gone downhill after the Istanbul shenanigans, but give credit where it is due.

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The team have performed particularly well this year, and they have continued where they left off last year.

Webber has been terrific this season, and many neutrals would like to see the Aussie crowned world champion for 2010. This season could be Webber's last opportunity to become the drivers' champion before he hangs up his crash helmet.

I fear that if Mark is not world champion this year, then he may not get another chance. Only time will tell.

As for Sebastian, the German is only 23 and he will have plenty of opportunities to chase his first drivers' crown. Who knows, it may be this year that he becomes world champion?

The fact that Vettel has many seasons in Formula One ahead of him is one reason why neutrals would like to see Webber win the drivers' title.

We are in for a cracking end to the 2010 season, and it will be interesting to see how Red Bull Racing approach the final two races.

Where did it all start?

The 15th of November, 2004 was the day that Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz announced that the Austrian drinks company had brought Jaguar Racing.

Red Bull Racing were in business, and Christian Horner was installed as team principal. David Coulthard led the team with Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi as the number two drivers for the 2005 season.

Red Bull also launched its young driver programme - Red Bull Junior Team - whereby the drinks company sponsors promising young drivers. Klien, Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Vettel are some of the juniors that have gone on to compete in Formula One.

A year later, Red Bull also brought Minardi and renamed the team Scuderia Toro Rosso. You could make the case that Toro Rosso were the 'B' team.

Credit

The Daily Telegraph's F1 writer Tom Cary told Crash.net that Mateschitz and Helmut Marko deserve praise for the way things have gone: "Red Bull could hardly be accused of scrimping.

"They have invested a huge amount of money, time and effort into their young driver programme and other initiatives. They brought in Christian Horner, who has belied his tender years to grow into the role in double-quick time."

Andrew Benson, who is the F1 Online Editor for the BBC, also believes that Mateschitz is the man behind the success of the Red Bull team: "Dietrich Mateschitz is a very clever, very rich businessman and after deciding he wanted to take part in F1, he applied the same strategic thinking to that as he did to making his soft drinks company a success.

"He employed the right people, made it clear to them what his aims and ambitions were, gave them the freedom to work, listened to what they said, followed their advice where necessary, committed the resources that were needed and applied them cleverly."

Benson added that the signing of Adrian Newey was significant: "Getting Adrian Newey on-board has been the key factor - something that was basically down to Christian Horner and David Coulthard.

"Once that was achieved, the most impressive thing has been that the team has found a way to structure itself and get the best out of Newey in a way McLaren did not manage to do often enough, for whatever reason.

"Obviously, none of it would have happened without Mateschitz committing the resources to pay for it."

The last two years have seen Red Bull become a force to be reckoned with, and the team has come on strong. Year-by-year they have improved considerably, and to become a championship contender in a short amount of time is stunning. Mind you, look at what Brawn GP achieved last year!

Red Bull's first-ever win in Formula One came at the Chinese Grand Prix last year, and from there onwards they have looked a potent force.

Formula1 FanCast's Red Bull journalist David Methold believes the team's maiden victory last season will be remembered for years to come: "The obvious high for the team would be the first victory, which was actually their first one-two finish as well.

"However, I think the 2006 podium finish in Monaco for David Coulthard was the greatest achievement to-date.

"This was at a time when the team was not expected to achieve great results, and Monaco 2006 was a cracking result and one that meant a lot."

Downs

However, it hasn't exactly been plain sailing for Christian Horner and his team. Red Bull's qualifying form this season has been second-to-none, but there have been times where they have failed to convert their form into race wins.

Mark Webber in particular has made poor starts in recent races, despite recovering well and picking up vital points - points that could be crucial come the end of the year.

Then, of course, there was the much debated incident in the Turkish Grand Prix. Red Bull were on-course to score a one-two, but both drivers collided which enabled Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button to go on and record a McLaren one-two.

The collision sparked controversy, and what was to come after was even more controversial.

During the final qualifying session for the British Grand Prix, Webber's new front wing was given to his team-mate. The Aussie went on to win the race and said 'Not bad for a No.2 driver'.

Even though they have had their problems this year, Phil Duncan of the Daily Mail feels the team have done well to recover from their mid-season stutter: "Red Bull's lowest point probably came in Istanbul, when they scuppered an almost certain one-two with an avoidable collision.

"Christian Horner's decision to publicly imply Webber should have yielded to Vettel was a PR disaster, particularly when Webber was then stripped of the new front wing element at Silverstone a few weeks later.

"However, they have recovered from their mid-season blip, which at one stage looked beyond repair."

Reliability issues were certainly a problem for the team last season, which in the end cost them both the drivers' and constructors' championships. This is something that Red Bull have addressed, and both drivers are still in contention for the drivers' title.

It has been a fascinating year, and do not be surprised if we see some more shocks from now to the end of the season.

Mark Webber has been brilliant this year, and personally I think he would be a worthy world champion. The Aussie this season has always bounced back after having a poor race and there is no reason why he cannot go on to be crowned champion.

Vettel might just look back at the Turkish and Belgian Grands Prix as the defining moments in his season. The German in my view needs to avoid causing unnecessary incidents and calm down.

The former Toro Rosso driver has already proven that whenever he is out at the front, he is difficult to beat.

There is no question that Sebastian is a world champion in-waiting, but he needs to stop making silly mistakes because those mistakes could cost him.

Here are the thoughts of David Methold, Phil Duncan, Andrew Benson and Tom Cary as to whether a Red Bull driver will be crowned world champion this year.

DM: "I think a Red Bull driver will win the championship, but I could not tell you which one at this present time!

"I personally would love to see Mark Webber win it, as I think this is his last chance at a world championship whereas Vettel will have many more opportunities.

"But if I'm honest, if Vettel doesn't enhance his 'crash kid' reputation, he should have the out-and-out pace to win the title this season."

PD: "Since day one on my blog, I've backed Vettel to lift the title come the end of the season, so from a selfish view I hope he does.

"However, Webber is going to take some beating, but for what it's worth, I have a sneaky feeling Alonso might just nick it... although my predictions are usually wrong!"

AB: "If one is not, people will be asking how on earth that happened, considering the car advantage the team have had this season."

TC: "Mark Webber is in pole position, and if he finishes every race I believe he will be crowned champion."

by Manish Patel