Red Bull Racing's History. Part 4: The years of success

Published on 18 January 2019 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen has already celebrated many successes in his three seasons with Red Bull Racing, which is  one of the top teams in Formula 1. Shaped out of Stewart Grand Prix and then Jaguar Racing, Red Bull Racing has won the world championship four times in a row, after having entered the Formula 1-scene in 2005. But a lot took place before success came knocking on the door. In a series of five, we will be looking at the history of the Milton Keynes based team. Part 4 will feature the success years.

After a difficult start for the Red Bull Racing team, with only three podiums from 2005 to 2008 and only a fifth place in the constructors’ championship, the team is heading into a new direction for 2009. Veteran David Coulthard leaves Formula 1 and top talent Sebastian Vettel, who  in 2008 driving a Scuderia Toro Rosso took his first win on a soaking wet Monza, takes his seat. While  The experienced Mark Webber starts his third season with the team from Milton Keynes. After some radical rule changes concerning aerodynamics, Red Bull spotted an opportunity. With Adrian Newey the team has a very successful designer which pays off in 2009.

During the third race of the season, on a wet Shanghai circuit, both Red Bulls dominate. Vettel scores his first victory for the Austrian team and Webber finishes second. On the Nürburgring Webber finally scores his first victory. With a total of six victories and sixteen podiums the season ends very successful for Red Bull Racing, finishing second in the constructors’ championship. Vettel just came short to win the championship, as Jenson Button took the crown for Brawn GP after a dominant start of the season,  which the German could not make up for. 

In 2010 the car is improved even further and on most circuits the competition cannot keep up with the Red Bull Racing RB6. However, technical failures and driver errors still make it difficult to win the championship. In Turkey the Red Bulls hit each other while leading the race. Vettel has to retire his car , while Webber falls back to third position. In Korea Red Bull has again been dealt some  serious blows, as championship leader Webber squanders some costly points by crashing, while engine failure causes Vettel, as race leader,  to retire his car in the final stages of the race. Finally, in Abu Dhabi it all ends well when Vettel wins while Alonso and Webber are stuck in traffic. The German becomes the youngest ever champion in the history of Formula 1 and Red Bull Racing wins the constructors’ championship for the first time in its existence. 

Red Bull Racing is even more dominant in 2011. It is  Only twice that  Vettel doesn’t  finished on the podium. He finishes  eleven races on the top step  and wins the championship. Webber only scores one victory and finishes third in the championship. Again, Red Bull Racing wins the constructors’ championship, way ahead of all the competition.

After two successful years, 2012 has a less smooth start. The season starts very unpredictable with seven different winners in the first seven races. Halfway through the season Vettel is 44 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso and even 10 points behind team mate  Webber. But in Asia Vettel retaliates and wins four races in a row. The final race in Brazil is very exciting, as Vettel is touched into a spin on the first . During the race Vettel catches up and finishes sixth, which is enough to win his third championship in a row. Red Bull Racing also wins the third constructors’ championship.

In 2013 Red Bull Racing dominates once more . While in the first half of the season the competition can keep up with Vettel, from the Belgium Grand Prix onwards the German is invincible. He wins the last nine races in a row and sets the record. With thirteen wins in one season he equals the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004. And with four consecutive world titles Vettel equals Alain Prost. It is the last season in Formula 1 for Webber and he is unable to win a race. Nevertheless,  Red Bull Racing wins the constructors’ championship again.

After a couple of extremely successful years Red Bull Racing awaits a new challenge in 2014. The V8-engine is exchanged for the more complex V6-turbo power unit , and with Daniel Ricciardo a new ‘Ozzy’ takes his seat next to Sebastian Vettel. Also in 2014, someone called Max Verstappen makes his debut in Formula 3. But more on that in the next episode.