Amid speculation on their driver line-up and their power unit plans for the future, Red Bull finished as runners-up in the Constructors’ Championship for the first time since 2016. Here are the facts and statistics from Red Bull’s 2020 F1 season.
Red Bull took an unchallenged second place in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship. They were not close enough to Mercedes to challenge for the title – though they were closer on qualifying pace than they had been in previous seasons – yet no team behind was close enough to take the second spot from them.
The biggest shock for Red Bull in 2020 was Honda’s announcement of their withdrawal from the sport after 2021, leaving the team without an engine manufacturer. Their search for a solution is likely to dominate next season’s headlines.
The team claimed two wins over the 2020 season, both with Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman also taking the only non-Mercedes powered pole at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Alex Albon’s tenure at Red Bull was under the spotlight for most of the season – not least with former Red Bull champion Sebastian Vettel’s services available, Nico Hulkenberg’s super-sub outings and Pierre Gasly’s stunning performances at the junior team.
In the end, Red Bull have opted to sign Sergio Perez – a star of the midfield in recent years – in place of Albon for 2021. Albon continues at the team as reserve driver. Will the new Verstappen and Perez line-up strengthen Red Bull’s chances of the Constructors’ Championship in 2021?
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Austria: At the Austrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen became the 59th different driver to record the first retirement of a Formula 1 season. It was the first time that a Red Bull driver has recorded the first DNF in a season. Later in the race, Alex Albon also retired. It marked the first time since 2014 that Red Bull failed to score at the first Grand Prix of the season, and the first time in their history that they have not scored at their home track. The team have now recorded four retirements at the circuit in the last four years.
Styria: With Max Verstappen third and Alex Albon fourth, the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix marked the first time that Red Bull have finished a race at the Red Bull Ring with both cars in the top four.
Hungary: Alex Albon failed to reach Q3 for the first time since the 2019 Russian Grand Prix. His Q2 exit marked only the third time in the last twelve years that a Red Bull driver has failed to reach Q3 at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Albon qualified in thirteenth place – the team’s worst qualifying result at the Hungaroring since David Coulthard also qualified thirteenth in 2008. Max Verstappen finished the race in second place. This was the first time since the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix that Mercedes have finished first and third with a Red Bull driver between them in second place.
Britain: Max Verstappen qualified in third place for the 2020 British Grand Prix, marking Red Bull’s first top three qualification at Silverstone since Verstappen himself qualified in third in 2016. Alex Albon dropped out in Q2, recording Red Bull’s first failure to qualify in the top ten at the British Grand Prix since Daniel Ricciardo was eliminated in Q1 in 2017. Verstappen finished on the podium, recording Red Bull’s eleventh top three finish at Silverstone – their first since 2016.
70th Anniversary: At the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Red Bull equalled the Arrows team’s number of Grand Prix starts. The Arrows team raced in F1 between 1978 and 2002, making their 291st and final start at the 2002 German Grand Prix. Max Verstappen was victorious in the race, recording his ninth career victory. It was Red Bull’s first win at Silverstone since Mark Webber won the 2012 British Grand Prix, which was also the Australian’s ninth win. With their fourth victory at the circuit, Red Bull overtook Lotus’ tally of Silverstone wins. The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix marked the first time that a Honda-powered car won at Silverstone since Alain Prost took victory in the 1989 British Grand Prix. It was the Japanese manufacturer’s fourth win in total at the circuit. This was the first race at Silverstone to not feature a Safety Car since 2012 – which was also the last race at the track which Red Bull won.
Spain: The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix marked the first time that a Red Bull driver has finished second at Catalunya. In this race, both Mercedes and Red Bull recorded their tenth podium finishes at the track.
Belgium: With Max Verstappen qualifying third and Alex Albon fifth, this is the first time that both Red Bull drivers have qualified in the top five for the Belgian Grand Prix since 2016. Albon finished sixth, and with team-mate Verstappen on the podium, this is the first time since 2016 that both Red Bull drivers have reached the chequered flag, and the first time that both of the team’s drivers have scored, at the event since 2014.
Italy: For only the second time in 2020, neither Red Bull driver qualified on the first two rows. However, this is the first time since 2017 that both Red Bull drivers have qualified in the top ten at the Italian Grand Prix.
Tuscany: Perhaps surprisingly, the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix was the first time that both Red Bull drivers lined up on the second row of the grid in almost three years, since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix. It was also the first time that two Honda-powered cars lined up on the second row of the grid since the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix. Alex Albon took his maiden podium finish, becoming the seventh Red Bull driver to have finished on the podium.
Russia: With second place, Max Verstappen became the first Red Bull driver to qualify on the front row at the Russian Grand Prix, beating the team’s previous best qualifying result at the circuit of fourth in 2019, also recorded by Verstappen. Alex Albon qualified in tenth, making this the first Russian Grand Prix in which both Red Bull drivers have qualified in the top ten since 2017. Max Verstappen finished as runner-up in the race, recording Red Bull’s first podium finish at Sochi Autodrom. Red Bull are the fifth different team to have finished on the podium in Sochi.
Eifel: Alex Albon qualified in fifth place for the Eifel Grand Prix, becoming the first Red Bull driver to fail to qualify in the top four at the Nurburgring since 2007. That year, the team’s best qualifier was Mark Webber in sixth place. In the race, Albon recorded his first DNF since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. It was Red Bull’s first retirement at the Nurburgring since both cars failed to finish the 2006 European Grand Prix. Max Verstappen’s third place made the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix the 250th race in which Red Bull have scored a point. Red Bull are the fifth team to have reached the milestone, after Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Lotus. This was also the fifth consecutive race at the Nurburgring where a Red Bull driver has finished on the podium.
Portugal: For the first time in his Red Bull career, Alex Albon failed to score at two consecutive races. Max Verstappen had failed to score at two successive races earlier in the season, with retirements from both the Italian and Tuscan Grands Prix.
Emilia Romagna: The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix marked Red Bull’s 300th appearance at a Formula 1 race since they first entered at the 2005 Australian Grand Prix. However, it was their 299th start due to neither car starting the 2005 United States Grand Prix. Finishing in fifteenth place, Alex Albon became the first Red Bull driver to fail to score at three consecutive races since Max Verstappen retired from the 2017 Canadian, Azerbaijan and Austrian Grands Prix. Albon also became the first Red Bull driver to finish two successive races outside of the points since Mark Webber finished ninth at the 2009 European and Belgian Grands Prix. With Albon fifteenth and Verstappen retiring, Vitantonio Liuzzi’s eighth place at the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix remains the only time that a Red Bull driver has scored at Imola.
Turkey: On Red Bull’s 300th race start, both Max Verstappen and Alex Albon led a lap of the Turkish Grand Prix. This was the first race in which both Red Bull drivers led since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix. For the first time since 2008, neither Red Bull driver finished on the podium at the Turkish Grand Prix. This was the first race which Verstappen has finished in a position outside of the podium places since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, when he also finished sixth.
Bahrain: Max Verstappen qualified in third place, which is the first time that he has qualified inside the top four at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was Red Bull’s first top three result in qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix since 2014. With both Verstappen and Albon reaching Q3, Red Bull became only the second team who have recorded 450 Q3 appearances since the current qualifying system was introduced in 2006. Ferrari are the other team to have recorded 450 Q3 appearances, reaching the milestone at the 2019 British Grand Prix. In the race, both Red Bull drivers finished on the podium for the first time since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix. Prior to the 2020 race, Sebastian Vettel was the only Red Bull driver to have finished on the podium at the track. Verstappen and Albon brought Red Bull’s tally of top three Bahrain finishes to five.
Sakhir: Alex Albon failed to reach Q3 for the third time in 2020 at the Sakhir Grand Prix, qualifying in twelfth place. It was the first time he missed out on Q3 since the British Grand Prix. This was the sixth time in the last eight Bahrain races that only one Red Bull driver qualified in the top ten.
Abu Dhabi: Max Verstappen took pole position for the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, making Red Bull the first (and only) non-Mercedes powered team to take pole this season. Verstappen secured Red Bull’s first pole position since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, and their first at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2013. In total, this was Red Bull’s fourth pole at the Yas Marina Circuit. Becoming the 63rd driver to have recorded at least three career poles, Verstappen recorded Red Bull’s 63rd pole position. He has now taken three poles with the team – the same number as Daniel Ricciardo scored during his time at Red Bull. With Verstappen taking pole position, the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the 100th race in which a Red Bull driver lined up on the front row. Verstappen went on to win the race, with his victory being the first for Honda power at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was also Red Bull’s fourth win here – their first since Sebastian Vettel won in 2013.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.