F1 » Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing was formed from the remains of the Jaguar team in November 2004, following Ford's decision to exit F1.
Jaguar itself originated from Stewart Grand Prix in 2000, the latter first appearing on the F1 scene in a blaze of publicity at the start of the 1997 season.
With Jackie Stewart's business connections and race record, and the might of the Ford corporation behind it, outsiders expected a lot of Stewart Grand Prix, Jackie himself however was more realistic. Second place at Monaco in only its fifth race would have been more than he expected.
The team then suffered a spate of dramatic, and expensive, engine failures later in the season as Ford strived to match its rivals. No further points finishes were achieved by Rubens Barrichello and Jan Magnussen, and the Dane only managed to retain his place with a handful of improved performances towards the end of the season.
The team was the subject of rumours concerning its financial position in the off-season, but Stewart bounced back with the announcement of deals with the American MCI and Lear Corporations. With heavily revised Ford engines and an innovative carbon-fibre gearbox, Stewart Grand Prix looked set to improve on its maiden season.
The same driver line-up started the 1998 season but, save for two point scoring finishes in Canada, the year was disappointing. Magnussen may have opened his F1 account with sixth in Montreal, but was replaced by Dutch driver Jos Verstappen from France onwards as a consequence of his lacklustre performance. Verstappen fared little better, however, and it was often left to Barrichello to carry the Stewart flag.
Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian remained in place for 1999 although, for a while, he was being mentioned in connection with a move to Williams. His new partner was Johnny Herbert, who transferred from Sauber, and the pair hoped to raise both the morale and the mood in Milton Keynes. The attractive new SF-3 chassis looked the part and, early problems aside, performed well. Barrichello, as expected, looked the more likely to score points, and took pole in France, but it was Herbert who popped up to win the team's first - and only - GP at the Nurburgring in September. He then went on to out-point his Brazilian team-mate in the final few races and ensured that his career received another shot at redemption.
Barrichello jumped at the chance to replace Eddie Irvine at Ferrari for 2000, and the two swapped seats with the Irishman joining Herbert at the renamed Jaguar Racing team. Taken over by Ford at the Canadian GP in 1999, the Stewart name disappeared after just three seasons and that lone win, to be replaced by one of the most evocative in British motorsport.
Testing of the new R1, the first ever Jaguar F1 car, was a mixed bag for both drivers, but the new Cosworth CR2 engine was among the lightest and most powerful on the grid.
Just one year after BAR's calamatous entry into the sport, Jaguar's first year of GP racing was little more successful though with their only points coming from Irvine's gutsy fourth spot in Monaco. The cars were slow and reliability left a lot to be desired and the team was dealt a bitter blow when Paul Stewart revealed he had cancer and was forced to leave the team. Herbert's F1 career ended on a sour note with a pointless year and a nasty crash in his final race at Malaysia when the suspension broke.
The big news over the winter months was the arrival of Champcar team-boss and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal as principal, and the hopes of the British team rested largely on his shoulders.
The R2 was built to be more reliable than its predecessor, but its extra solidity brought with it a natural burden. Whilst many believed that Rahal had what it took to turn the team around, ultimately a lack of success saw him removed in a coup led by three-time world champion Niki Lauda.
The team started the 2001 campaign with Eddie Irvine and Luciano Burti, then signed Pedro de la Rosa as a test driver when he was dumped by Arrows. By the time of the Spanish Grand Prix, Burti had been moved onto Prost, allowing de la Rosa - who opted out of a deal with the French team - to take over his race seat.
As in 2000, the season was largely disappointing, but punctuated with brighter moments, among them Irvine's sparkling third place at Monaco. That the team had to wait until round seven to open its account summed it all up, however. The Irishman ended the year with six points, de la Rosa with three, leaving Jaguar eight out of eleven.
For 2002, Irvine and de la Rosa remained on board, with Lauda at the helm full-time. However the new R3 was a disaster and there was talk, early on of reverting to the R2, as the R3 was a complete dog.
The team started the year well though and Irvine took fourth place in Australia. However this was not down to the car, more the fact half the field was knocked out following a massive pile-up at the start. The team then had to wait until Belgium in September to score another point, before an inspired drive at the Italian GP from Irv, when he qualified fifth and finished third ended the year on a high.
During the off-season though several changes took place. First up was the outfit's decision to opt for an all-new driver line-up. So it was out with Irvine and de la Rosa, and in with former Minardi driver, Mark Webber and ex-Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia.
Then a number of weeks later, in mid-October came the shock news that Lauda himself had been axed, the fourth team boss at the team to leave since the outfit was formed in 2000.
Tony Purnell thus took over the poisoned chalice, as the head of Ford's Premier Performance Division [PPD] - comprising the Jaguar F1 team, Cosworth Racing and Pi research. His job was not easy, but 2003 brought results, and more importantly respect for the Ford owned team.
Mark Webber was certainly an asset and the Aussie was easily the undisputed number one driver at the team by the end of the season, scoring 17 points in total, with a string of sixth and seventh place finishes - not to mention some top notch qualifying efforts.
Webber's team-mates though didn't have it so easy, Antonio Pizzonia lasted until the German GP, when Justin Wilson was brought in as his replacement. The Englishman though fared little better, and despite notching up an eighth place finish at the US GP was eventually dropped, as economics dictated a change.
Jaguar notched up 18 points in total in 2003, on route to seventh in the constructors', and there was a real feeling of progress at the Milton Keynes based squad, and a sense that the 2004 year's car, the R5, might allow them to continue to move up the grid.
Winter testing was mixed however, and Jaguar desperate for cash, signed new boy Christian Klien to partner Webber. The Austrian, who impressed in the International F3 Euro Series the year before, was backed by Red Bull and was rumoured to be worth around £4-6 million.
The season though was far from successful, and following the promise of 2003, 2004 was far tougher - both on and off the track.
In total the team managed just 10 points, narrowly beating Toyota to seventh place in the Constructors'. Webber was again the team leader, scoring all but 3 of their haul, but it was off-track that the outfits' real problems emerged.
Ford's decision to sell the outfit, along with Cosworth, in September 2004, threatened to end the Milton Keynes based squad, and while it had been rumoured, Ford might just re-brand the team - Ford Racing - under financial pressure, the 'Blue Oval' elected to get out of F1 completely.
Although the teams' future was uncertain in the following months, in November, Red Bull, owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, came to the rescue, taking over the team, and in the process realising his own long-term dream, of owning his own F1 operation. Therefore, Jaguar departed Formula One winless and having scored just 49 points in 84 races.
Red Bull Racing signed David Coulthard at the end of 2004 to lead the team and in early January appointed Christian Horner to replace Tony Purnell as team boss - a move that surprised many, as it was thought that Red Bull would retain the Jaguar management. David Pitchforth was also removed, to be replaced by Guenther Steiner, who ironically was the technical director at Jaguar from 2001-2002, but was dismissed as it was deemed he didn't have enough F1 know-how.
During 2005, Coulthard was partnered by Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi, the young pairing having to 'seat-share' the second car. While, early on in the season, it was thought they would both contest roughly the same amount of races, as the year went on this turned out not to be the case, and Liuzzi did just four events.
Red Bull surprised many in '05, scoring points in eleven of the 19 races and ending the season with 34 points in total - 14 more than Sauber and just four fewer than BAR-Honda - to claim seventh in the standings. DC, as one would expect, scored the majority of the points - 24 - and took the team's two best finishes, when he was fourth at the Australian GP and again at the Nurburgring.
Determined to maximise its F1 exposure, Red Bull bought the Minardi team towards the end of the season, re-branding it Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2006.
Effectively a Red Bull 'junior' team, STR was expected to provide an outlet for some of the other Red Bull-backed drivers', fielding Liuzzi, who was 'transferred' from RBR, and American Scott Speed in 2006, thus bringing an end to the brand's US F1 driver search programme.
Red Bull's 'senior' team, meanwhile, stuck with Coulthard and Klien in 2006, with former Minardi man Robert Doornbos taking on the Friday test role. The team also switched to Ferrari engines, after agreeing a deal early on in 2005.
After the confident first season, however, the second proved to be harder.
Indeed, with RBR going to the first race in Bahrain having not even completed a race distance thanks to endless cooling problems brought on by their new engines, the fact Klien finished at all, let along in eighth place, proved to be just as surprising as their double-point scoring debut in 2006.
There was an even bigger shock in store when Coulthard captured the team's maiden podium at Monaco, the Scot's superior experience and the car's fondness for circuits requiring downforce proving a magical combination on the way to third, but the reality was that RBR suffered for the most part, frustrated by midfield performances, increasing reliability woes and a decision to stop development of the already conservative RB2 midway through the season.
Barring Coulthard's podium, neither driver would finish higher than eighth throughout the rest of the season, prompting some rather choice words from the Scot regarding the team's failure to move forward.
Klien departed three races from the end of the campaign, allowing Doornbos to return to a race seat, but the Dutchman already knew that he would not be in the frame for 2007, which, with the much-vaunted arrival of designer Adrian Newey, many hoped would herald a turning point.
Coulthard remained on board in '07, but Klien's seat went to another non-Red Bull man, namely Mark Webber, who was brought in to partner the Scot. Doornbos remained as a tester, alongside Michael Ammermuller.
Alongside Newey, RBR also pulled off the coup of securing a supply of title-winning Renault engines to replace its STR-bound Ferraris and, with the aggressive-looking RB3, the team was aiming to make progress.
The RB3 was clearly faster than the RB2, but reliability proved a real issue, with the transmission the cause of a number of DNFs. Such fragility really hindered DC and Webber, although there were still some highs, including Mark's third place finish at the Nurburgring, while Coulthard's best was a fourth place finish in Japan.
In the end DC scored 14 points - and was tenth in the drivers' championship, while Webber notched up 10 and was 12th. The combined tally of 24 left the Milton-Keynes based operation fifth in the constructors' - a two place improvement on '06, although with McLaren excluded, in reality the outfit was sixth.
Having showed its potential, Red Bull knew that it could, and should, do a lot better in 2008, and the Newey-designed RB4 proved to be an improvement on its predecessor, allowing the unchanged line-up of Coulthard and Webber to begin the season with seven scoring appearances in the first eight races. The Australian was the better accumulator, but missed out on a return to the podium while DC came through the usual Montreal madness to claim third.
The Scot’s early season was marked by a string of on-track clashes that denied him the chance to score regularly, but failing to get through the first phase of qualifying at several rounds made life difficult for the oldest man on the grid. By mid-season, he had confirmed his decision to call it quits after Brazil and the only shame was that his swansong lasted just as far as turn one.
Webber, too, was not immune to ill-fortune, with the now familiar gremlins continuing to dog the Australian, not least in Singapore, when a potential podium went begging as a passing metro train apparently sent the gearbox electrics haywire. Fourth place in Monaco was thus the best Webber managed, but second on the grid at Silverstone again underlined his qualifying prowess.
Luck also played a part in restricting the team to seventh in the constructors’ championship, its own drop-off in form late on - not helped by the below par Renault engine which it had demanded in place of 2007’s Ferrari powerplant - coinciding with possibly the strongest midfield battle in recent years.
With Coulthard's F1 career at an end, Red Bull called on Sebastian Vettel to step up from sister team Toro Rosso to partner Webber for 2009 and it didn't take the German long to make his mark. Armed with easily the best Red Bull car to date - the RB5 - Vettel took the team's maiden pole position in Shanghai and then stormed to victory the following day to take Red Bull to the top of the podium for the first time. It was to be the first of three victories for the German who showed why he was so highly rated by finishing second in the championship standings behind Jenson Button.
For Webber, the year didn’t start well when he suffered a broken leg in a collision with a 4x4 during his own Tasmanian adventure race. Luckily the Australian was fit to start the season and after a difficult start to the year, he followed Vettel home in China to help the team to its maiden 1-2 finish. A breakthrough win came in Germany where he overcame a drive through penalty to secure victory although a run of five no-scores towards the end of the year ended any hopes of a title challenge. A second win of the campaign did come in Brazil as Red Bull finished the season second in the constructors' championship.
If the RB5 had been a good car, the RB6 put together by Newey and his team proved to be even better as Red Bull stormed to the championship titles in 2010.
Vettel's season didn't start well as technical issues cost him victory in the opening two races, although he did pick up his first of the year in China. After a controversial clash with Webber in Turkey, the German took his second win of the season in Valencia before a late season charge saw him win three of the final four races to become the 2010 champion; coming from behind in Abu Dhabi to beat Fernando Alonso to the crown.
Many will argue that Webber should have beaten Vettel to the championship after the Australian's best season to date. Five pole positions and four wins - including on the streets of Monaco - showed Webber to be a true title contender and he was the man to beat heading into the inaugural Korean Grand Prix late in the season. Unfortunately for Webber, Korea marked his second DNF of the year - the first having come in Valencia after he was launched over the rear of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus - and he was then forced to play catch-up, ultimately falling short of becoming the first Australian title winner since Alan Jones back in 1981 as he finished the year third.
Having also picked up the constructors' title to go with Vettel's drivers' crown, Red Bull headed into 2011 as the team to beat - although few would have predicted the way in which the titles were successfully defended.
An astonishing campaign from Vettel saw him secure 15 pole positions from 19 races while eleven wins ensured he was able to wrap up the title with ease for a second straight season. Such was the pace of Red Bull's RB7, Vettel failed to qualify on the front row on only one occasion and was only outside the top two on race day twice all year; finishing fourth on home soil in Germany and then retiring in Abu Dhabi after sustaining a puncture on the opening lap.
In any other year, a total of three poles, seven fastest laps and a victory in Brazil would have been classed as successful but for Webber, it wasn't enough to avoid being comprehensively outperformed by his team-mate. In fairness to the veteran, he endured his fair share of problems over the season with a number of KERS related issues and a series of poor starts hitting his challenge. One such tardy start cost him dear at Silverstone where he started from pole but could only finish second behind Vettel, despite ignoring team orders not to challenge the German for victory.
With both titles secured for the second successive season, Red Bull went into 2012 as the team to beat with both Vettel and Webber being retained for another year.
No longer able to make us of its blown diffuser after a regulation change, the team started the season without the advantage it had enjoyed the previous season, although Vettel made the most of a safety car period to take a podium in Australia.
Having failed to score in Malaysia, he secured his first win o the year in Bahrain but then gradually slipped away from Fernando Alonso through the European season – where he scored just two podium finishes. Along the way, he missed out on a certain victory in Valencia to alternator failure and clashed with Alonso at Monza in a move that saw him handed a drive-through penalty. Webber by contrast picked up his only two victories of the season in Monaco and Britain.
Along the way, there was controversy surrounding the design of the RB8, with a hole in the floor of the car being outlawed before the Canadian GP despite being on the car since Bahrain, and questions being raised about the team’s engine maps in Germany.
With those arguments put to bed and with upgrades introduced for the latter part of the year, Red Bull suddenly came alive – with Vettel reeling off four straight wins to roar into the championship lead. The constructors’ championship was secured in the USA and a dramatic season finale in Brazil ended with Vettel taking the drivers’ title for a third successive season.
The team remains the same again for 2013 – and again it’s the Milton Keynes-based outfit that will start the year as the one to beat.