Red Bull have had a successful sixteen seasons in Formula 1. They’ve taken four drivers’ and four Constructors’ titles, and now seek title success once again with Honda power.
|First F1 Appearance||2005 Australian Grand Prix|
Red Bull were the cool new kids on the block when they arrived on the grid in 2005, having bought out the Jaguar team in November 2004. The team’s origins are actually that of the Stewart Grand Prix team, who won one Grand Prix during their time in F1 between 1997 and 1999. The team was then bought by Jaguar, who competed in F1 for five seasons, until they were bought by the Austrian company, Red Bull. The fizzy drinks company had previously sponsored the Sauber team for ten years.
Christian Horner signed up experienced hand David Coulthard for their first season and the second seat was shared between two young drivers, Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi. They scored more points in their first two races than the Jaguar team did over the whole 2004 season, and were frequent points scorers throughout the year on their way to seventh in the championship. Coulthard scored the team’s first podium in 2006, memorably wearing a superman cape on the podium. Adrian Newey joined the team for 2007, along with former Williams driver Mark Webber, who took a podium at the European Grand Prix. In 2008, Coulthard finished on the podium in Canada before retiring from the sport at the end of the season, as Red Bull slipped down the order in the Constructors’ Championship. Sebastian Vettel, who had impressed at the junior Toro Rosso team, joined for 2009 and the car was good enough to challenge for the title. Vettel took the team’s first pole and win in China, while Webber scored his first victory at the German Grand Prix. The team dominated the latter part of the season, eventually finishing runners up to Brawn GP.
For the next four seasons, Vettel and the Red Bull car was unstoppable. Vettel took his first title in 2010, in an epic four way title decider at the final round of the season. He dominated throughout 2011 as the team took every pole position bar one. In 2012, title success was harder to come by but Vettel managed to triumph over Fernando Alonso in a chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix. For 2013, Red Bull had new rivals in Mercedes, but dominated the second half of the season with Vettel winning an unprecedented nine races in a row. In the early part of the season, Red Bull made headlines when Vettel refused to follow team orders to stay behind his team-mate at the Malaysia Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo was brought in for the 2014 season as Webber retired, impressively out-performing four-time champion Vettel throughout much of the season. He won three races over the course of the season but the Renault power unit struggled at the dawn of the V6 era, putting them out of genuine title contention against the dominant Mercedes team. Vettel moved to pastures new to be replaced by Daniil Kvyat in 2015. The team scored a double podium in Hungary, but ended the year win-less for the first time since 2008.
Controversy followed in 2016 as Kvyat was dropped from the team after poor form and a crash in the Russian Grand Prix. It turned out to be an inspired decision though, as Max Verstappen stepped up from the junior team and won on his début for Red Bull. Ricciardo would go on to take his first win in over two years at the Malaysian round. The team finished runners up in the championship.
The beginning of 2017 was worrying for Red Bull, as they found themselves in a land of their own between the leading pair of Mercedes and Ferrari, and ahead of the rest of the chasing pack. An aerodynamic overhaul of the cars was supposed to play into the hands of the team, but reliability woes saw the team finish with both cars on very few occasions throughout the year. Baku was somewhat of a turning point, as the team scooped their first win of the year with Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian took nine of the team’s thirteen podiums, as Max Verstappen took the brunt of the team’s engine woes. In the second half of the season, Red Bull were much more competitive. While still struggling with reliability issues, they were on par with Mercedes and Ferrari and snatched two victories courtesy of Verstappen.
Determined to not be another season of what ifs, Red Bull, with new title sponsor Aston Martin, set an earlier completion date for the RB14, hoping that would make the difference between them being occasional winners to once again being championship challengers from the very beginning of the season. Sadly, that was not to be the case. Red Bull struggled to match Mercedes and Ferrari throughout the season, but did manage to win when the top teams faltered; taking their highest tally of victories in a single season so far in the hybrid era. Daniel Ricciardo took two wins early on in the season in China and Monaco, while Max Verstappen supplied the team with their first home victory at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, before taking the win in Mexico as part of a five-race podium streak. Ricciardo also took two pole positions for the team in Monaco and Mexico, with Red Bull scoring their first front-row lock out since 2013 at the latter event. Lows included frequent mechanical failures – often on Ricciardo’s side of the garage – and the collision of Ricciardo and Verstappen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, prematurely ending the team’s afternoon.
RED BULL IN 2019
Frustrated with the lack of power to fight for championships, Red Bull end their twelve season year relationship with Renault and will use Honda power for the first time in 2019. With Daniel Ricciardo heading off to the Renault works team, Max Verstappen became the de facto team leader, with 2016 GP2 Champion Pierre Gasly stepping up from the Toro Rosso team. What were the expectations for Red Bull in the their first year with Honda? It’s difficult to really know, but a podium finish certainly got things off on the right foot. Red Bull finished third in the Constructors’ Championship for a third consecutive season, amassing two less points than they did in 2018 with Renault power.
Red Bull scored the same number of wins as Ferrari in 2019, with Max Verstappen claiming all three. Their first of the year, fittingly, came at their home race in Austria, and the Dutchman added to that in Germany and Brazil. He even guided them to three pole positions – their highest tally since their last championship-winning year – but a grid penalty in Mexico saw him start only third.
For all of Verstappen’s success, it was the other side of the garage which prevented Red Bull from challenging for second in the Constructors’ Championship. Pierre Gasly joined the team at the start of 2019, but proved to be uncompetitive in the high pressure environment. He finished in the top five only twice, with a best result of fourth at Silverstone, before being demoted back to Toro Rosso. Instead, Red Bull promoted rookie Alex Albon into the main team. While he too was unable to match Verstappen, Albon finished in the top five more consistently, with five top five results. That would have been six with a podium finish, had Lewis Hamilton not clattered into the side of him in Brazil. Read more: Red Bull’s 2019 F1 Season in Stats.
RED BULL IN 2020
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 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? Read more: Red Bull’s 2020 F1 Season in Stats.
RED BULL’S RECENT F1 HISTORY
|2010||1st (498 points)||9||15||Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber|
|2011||1st (650 points)||12||18||Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber|
|2012||1st (460 points)||7||8||Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber|
|2013||1st (596 points)||13||11||Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber|
|2014||2nd (405 points)||3||0||Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo|
|2015||4th (187 points)||0||0||Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat|
|2016||2nd (468 points)||2||1||Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat|
|2017||3rd (368 points)||3||0||Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen|
|2018||3rd (419 points)||4||2||Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen|
|2019||3rd (417 points)||3||2||Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon|
|2020||2nd (319 points)||2||1||Max Verstappen, Alex Albon|