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What fired up Red Bull’s key players in 2010 F1 season
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What fired up Red Bull’s key players in 2010 F1 season
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Dec 2010   |  2:41 pm GMT  |  56 comments

There is a piece in the new edition of the Red Bulletin magazine where the key players in the Red Bull team talk about their favourite moments of the year, which offers a few insights into what motivates them and what was most important to them, with the benefit of hindsight.


Adrian Newey said that for him the most special thing about this year was taking on the big teams and beating them. The Red Bull project is the fulfilment of a dream he had tried to fulfil over 20 years ago, of building up a small private team to beat the might of teams like Ferrari and McLaren, “Once before in my life, with Leyton House, I had the chance to do something similar,” he says. “That was a very promising operation , but it fell apart because of money problems. To get a second chance with a young, small team and become world champions tastes sweet.”

World champion Sebastian Vettel revealed that during the showdown race in Abu Dhabi he asked his engineer not to tell him what position his rivals were in, clearly not wanting to have his hopes built up and then potentially shattered as Felipe Massa’s were in Brazil in 2008. Only once the rivals had crossed the line and it was clear he was champion, did his engineer tell him. “At that moment the world stood still,” said Vettel, “Nothing moved, there was no sound no heartbeat, nothing. “

Mark Webber says that his highlight was winning Monaco, something all drivers dream of when they are karting as children. “The drivers’ trophy? I’ll get that next year,” he says confidently.

Perhaps the most interesting contribution comes from Dr Helmut Marko, the special adviser to the team who represents the interests of the Austrian management. He is the only one who feels the need to makes reference to the two most controversial incidents of the season , Turkey and Silverstone and the way the team handled them. He says that the Silverstone front wing switch “wasn’t communicated properly,” something for which team principal Christian Horner has already taken the blame. Marko says that this “resulted in a lot of emotion and put a shadow over the weekend after a brilliant win. It was unfortunate because the difference between the wings in terms of performance was absolutely minimal, but a lot of emotion got out.”

This passage is the only tone of negativity in the piece and to offset that Marko describes these situations as “lucky problems” to have.

Team boss Christian Horner says that history shows that it will be very hard to defend the two championships next year.

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56 Comments
  1. Seán Craddock says:

    It will be very difficult to defend the championships. Many saying that Mercedes will be in contention, could we see Nico Rosberg get a long awaited first win? And lets not forget Kubica, he got in the mix numerous times in 2010 and he’s only going to get stronger.

    As for Red Bull themselves, they met a few bumps in 2010 (Silverstone & Istanbul) but still managed to win both championships. They’ll learn from those mistakes and should know how to cope at the top next season.

    I’ll be interested to see how the rule changes will affect Red Bull. No double diffusers, might that be one of the elements that won them the championships? After all, they had at least 3 men blocking the rear of the car on the grid even in Abu Dhabi. Or was that just smoke and mirrors?

    Whatever way, 2011 should be an exciting season!

    1. Jacob says:

      Yes it will be very difficult for them, I hope that schumi wins at least 1 race next year. you are forgetting however that Red Bull had the quicker non double diffuser car on the grid at the beginning of 2009……

    2. Jon says:

      They had the best non double diffuser car at the start of 2009, so it will not hurt them. But it might not help much either, because development has moved on so much since then.

      However Newey had the best understanding of the regs going from 2008 to 2009, and then 2009 to 2010, so it bodes confidence that he will make another strong car. It’s possible it could have a big advantage but KERS might level it out a bit. It’s certainly not a given that Redbull will be dominant, but it seems highly possible.

  2. Robert Powers says:

    It’s good to have Ivan Capelli as a friend on Facebook.I remember seeing that team dragging bottom all weekend in Phoenix throwing sparks everywhere(surely a record)and failing to make the grid in 1990.

    Alain Prost turned a hat trick that year,Capelli almost ruined it.

  3. Rafael says:

    Just some insights on Adrian Newey’s comments: I wouldn’t exactly classify them as a small team or relatively new. In terms of outfit, yes they have only been around since ’05; but in reality, the guys working at the back and on the ground have probably been there since the Stewart-Ford/Jaguar Racing days.

    Also, in terms of budget they are no means small. I remember back in their earlier years, there was a rumor going around that they were able to attract top engineering talent because of an “open cheque book” policy. Plus, they’re the only team who has an owner who manages to fund 2 teams and have survived with minimal to no sponsorship.

    This isn’t to take anything away from their achievements, just putting things into perspective.

    1. jmv says:

      jaguar final f1 season saw:
      -12 DNFs
      -19 out of the points finishes

      and only 5 points finishes

      so to present jaguar f1 in 2004 (that redbull took over) as a “big team”.. is not well grounded

    2. Luca says:

      i agree – isn’t it true that RB employ some 500 odd people whereas Mercedes only employs 300…. even Martin Whitmarsh has made comments that RB like to play the ‘small team’ card but in actual fact they are quite sizeable team.

      Lets not forget that is people just working on the car, not including the engine.

    3. Rafael L says:

      Funny, I was thinking the same thing…

      I like your name, by the way.

    4. build says:

      In relation to the “size” of RedBull; they are not the smallest team but they are definitely not a large team. As for an “open cheque book” mentioned in a lower reply, no such thing in F1.

      Perhaps James would care to put perspective to that point?

      1. Martin says:

        It looks like their 2009 budget was about 185 million Euro which certainly puts them in the fairly sizeable side of things…

        http://www.mibz.com/23543-red-bull-invested-123-million-euros-in-formula-1-in-2010.html

      2. James Allen says:

        That’s an old story and the figure doesn’t take into account how much of that figure was the Toro Rosso crossover spend.

      3. build says:

        Someone said to me that a ‘Redbull dollar is twice as long as a Ferrari dollar’, I think the result is your opinion.

        beers,
        build

  4. Dino says:

    I can kind of understand Adrian Newey’s philosophy but it’s a never-ending battle, surely? Who are the big teams in F1 nowadays? Ferrari, for sure; McLaren; .. who else? Well, arguably Red Bull are up there after two solid years, narrowly missing out last year after a slowish start and building by far the best car this year.

    If they comprehensively trounce the competition next year (and it’s a very big if), does that imply that we’re likely to see Newey move on to another team (Lotus? Virgin? Hispania?) and work his magic there?

    It will be interesting to see!

  5. Wayne says:

    I’m not dure about the statement from Newey about ‘taking on the big teams’ – RBR are a big team with a financial position as strong as anyone’s aren’t they? Perhaps he should have said ‘established’ teams?

    As for Marko, money aside (which admittedly is a fundamental and not easily put aside!), I think RBR won DESPITE his interference.

    1. Nando says:

      The young team comment also seems false, Jaguar were an established team who made huge investment they got alot of things wrong but it wasn’t as if they RB were Virgin starting from scratch.

    2. Mark V. says:

      I think perhaps by “big team” he means established and prestigious.

      And as for Marko I agree. How about his most recent comments? Unreal. Sure the team made mistakes as do all of them. But the original mistakes were generally made within the context of racing strategy. The bigger mistakes were made afterwards, in particular his subsequent comments in the media that fanned the flames ever higher. And yet it appears by making even more comments on these events and the references toward the team it appears he believes he bears no responsibility for his part in these PR disasters.

  6. Ben N says:

    I’m afraid I don’t share Mark Webber’s confidence there! I think that this was his last shot, though he drove well, Seb’s youth and misfortune conspired against him to allow Mark a chance… next year he won’t be so lucky!

    I am a huge fan of Adrian Newey and you can see the impact he’s had on every team he’s joined, he is invaluable to the Red Bull team now, and I feel he will stay there until he retires.

    1. Jon says:

      I don’t share Mark’s confidence either, but if you look at it from the drivers point of view, like Ant Davidson would say (way too much).. they have to pump themselves up like that, and believe they will win otherwise they may as well give up and go home. It’s all apart of their confidence/ego/mojo.

    2. Seán Craddock says:

      I thought that about Mark as well mid-season. Almost like Barrichello in 2009, he’s never going to have another chance.

      But looking back at the season, I think Mark could still be in contention. He knows what it feels like at the top, and knows how to keep his cool. Dare I say he only made one bad driving mistake all season in Korea (unfortunately at the worst possible time)

      I wouldn’t wave goodbye to this Aussie just yet

      1. Ben N says:

        I agree with you except your comment about his only mistake being Korea.

        His worst mistake was Korea, but I think he also made a few in Australia and he was at 50:50 with Kovalainen in Valencia…

    3. Leon Gagliardi says:

      Mark must believe in himself and his abilites for next year, otherwise what is he there for???

      I didnt know Adrian was invovled in Leyton House. I had only just started to watch F1 and loved watching the odd coloured cars doing their best. The French GP was one of those special moments.

  7. Andy C says:

    Its interesting that most people who have worked with him say the Adrian Newey is the most competitive person in F1, bar none.

    If I read your book correctly James, you implied that the wing incident at Silverstone was predominantly down to Adrian wanting to use it (and Horner in hindsight regretted that).

    I often wondered what would have happened to Jaguar if Newey had gone to them (I think he was very close to going if not having signed).

    It will be good to watch whether or not Redbull can sustain what they have had for the last 1.5 seasons (when I think they’ve had the fastest car).

    Still, you can’t really argue with Adrians success in F1. Hes obviously doing something right.

    Hopefully everyone at Redbull will have learned a lesson or two about handling those situations in future.

    P.S Is it February yet? :-)

    1. Robert Powers says:

      Jaguar HAD him signed!Ron Dennis convinced him to stay at McLaren.Rahal lost his job because Ford blamed him for not closing the deal.

    2. Lockster says:

      Yes, I believe that Bobby Rahal met with Newey as they had worked together previously, and he fed Newey all this “wouldn’t it be great to have a new challenge… “etc and Newey actually signed with Jaguar from memory but then Ron Dennis managed to talk him out of it and Newey ended up staying with McLaren.

      I have also wondered what would have happened if he had left for Jaguar when he originally decided to go, it may have brought the team some decent success and Ford may still have been in F1… all hypothetical really I guess.

  8. Baktru says:

    “The drivers’ trophy? I’ll get that next year,” he says confidently.

    Muahaha.

    Yeah, right.

    Not going going to happen, Webber.

    1. Joe Tanto says:

      ” Muahaha ”

      Is that you Fernando?

      Really pleased with the book by the way, Grand Prix Legends very prompt.

    2. Ayron says:

      Maybe, maybe not, but at least he’s looking forward postively and sounding like someone who is going to give it a red hot go. That would be better than saying he hopes to help Vettell win a second…

      1. Baktru says:

        Mind you I do like his positive attitude. But I do not believe for one second Webber will have a shot at it next year. If RB is dominant, Vettel will clinch it again. If Ferrari is faster, it will be Alonso.

    3. Pargo says:

      No one gave him a chance to fight for the title at beginning of 2010 either.

      1. StallionGP F1 says:

        The only reason he was in it was because of vettels misfortune

      2. Paul says:

        Mark had his own misfortunes as well and was still in the title hunt at the last race.

  9. Merlinghnd says:

    As I understand it ( happy to be corrected), Adrian Newey left Williams after wanting to be an equity partner which Frank Williams/Patrick Head declined. Always wonder what Newey/Williams/Head have thought about that decision over the years. Does Newey think it was a lucky escape or a Leyton House style missed opportunity for him thats taken this long to be laid to rest.

    1. Ambient Sheep says:

      I don’t know, but I bet Frank & Patrick have kicked themselves for it ever since…especially as they now HAVE had to sell some equity to a businessman.

      Newey was also reputedly very p’d off that Williams/Head had sacked Damon Hill without consulting him; he rated Hill’s technical feedback very highly and was unhappy about his departure.

  10. Jon says:

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned.

    My favourite part of Redbull’s success was continually how they had to face alligations of illegal parts of their car. It’s how the game is played but it was almost comical, especially from McLaren. I’m surprised they didn’t ask for FIA to make them race with 3 wheels.

    A mention of this part would have been nice, but I guess it’s a bit negative or gloating. Still it’s a long list of parts.

    - Suspension parts
    - Minor aero parts (think it was around sidepods, but maybe it was diffuser)
    - Ride height control
    - Front wing
    - Floor
    - Vettel’s finger
    - Anything else?

    Basically every aspect of the car was pinpointed as being illegal at one time or another. And frustratingly the FIA gave in every time, forcing them to change the parts on the car. Probably in order to make championship closer, rather then favouring anyone specifically.

    And yet, by the end they still won the final race of the season and both trophies. I can’t remember the last time a WCC car had to change so many parts of it’s car over such a long stretch of the season??

    Proving once and for all that it wasn’t any specific part that made that car fast, but it’s core design concept and philosophy. Adrian Newey and co, take a bow.

    And to add to that, no one predicted the Redbull as the fastest car in preseason testing. They didn’t do low fuel runs. There was only ONE insider who predicted the Redbull to be the fastest car and that was Nick Heidfeld, test driver for Merc at the time. Maybe we should listen to what he says after next preseason.

    1. Andy C says:

      Jon

      I’m not sure I agree nobody predicted RB would be the pace setters.

      Autosport showed their launch with a title of, here is the car everyone else needs to beat (or something to that effect).

      The teams always use the press to comment on the legality of a fast car. I remember seeing Horner and Whitmarsh laughing about it in one of the BBC interviews.

      1. Jon says:

        Yeah but Ferrari set the pace in the preseason, Ferrari and McLaren were seen as the strongest cars on “race simulations” in the final Barcelona test. There was “the big four” seen as the main threats with Ferrari, McLaren, Merc and Redbull but Ferrari seemed to be tipped by the most people, and also McLaren with their Button/Hamilton pairing. Nick Heidfeld stuck his neck out and pinpointed Redbull as “easily the best car”, with detailed analysis of how stable it was in different aspects of the circuit.

        Looking back it seems foolish to lump Mercedes in with that group but Schumacher was tipped to win races and contend the title.

        About the legality of the cars, absolutely as I said it’s how the game is played. However, FIA gave in 9 times out of 10 and Redbull had to change alot of their car over the season. That was my point. Not that the teams complained, which is normal. It was like a race horse having more and more weight put onto it’s back and still winning anyway. I think it was only the floor where all teams had to make adjustments, and Ferrari/Redbull with the front wing, otherwise it was solely pinpointed on Redbull.

        Imagine if Ferrari (wheel rims) or McLaren (f duct) had to change so many of their “innovative” parts during the season?

        I don’t remember Ferrari in 2004, Renault in 05/06 or McLaren in 2005 have to change so many parts. There was the mass damper for Renault in 2006 which caused a huge uproar, and I thought that was wrong but it was only ONE part of the car. And a two or three race hiccup rather then constant changes.

  11. Nando says:

    James, Are redbull eligible for BBC sports personality team of the year?

    1. James Allen says:

      Team of the year ? Yes.

  12. El Shish says:

    James,
    Is it just me or is this ‘small team’ business not a bit of an exaggeration? It isn’t after all, as if the team were created yesterday, i.e. starting from scratch, having to skimp on things for lack of investment. The team had the bucks to go out and make Newey an offer he couldn’t refuse. They’ve arguably invested more in developing drivers than any other team. Heck, who has the resources to essentially run two teams. I understand they’re not a works team but, isn’t that to some extent, a form of advantage in that they have fewer task on which to focus their resources (research, man hours, etc). They have proven, by going out and getting Newey and investing so heavily in developing drivers, that they are clearly not financial underdogs so it puzzles me to see so much being made of the fact that they are small and new. The facts suggest they aren’t really small and they aren’t really new.

  13. Rich C says:

    That guy Marko just doesn’t get it. He needs a few PR lessons. Especially the one that says if you can’t say anything good keep your mouth shut.

    1. Andy C says:

      I agree, although he seems deeply embedded in the team anyway. And “his” driver programme produced a world champion.

      I’m sure Redbull have learned a thing or two behind closed doors about the silverstone wing incident and the crash.

      I imagine Dr Marko will continue as he has been, calling it like he sees it.

      One thing I did notice when he was interviewed for BBC was that he came across much better in an interview, than he does in written interviews. Anybody else thought that or just me.

  14. TDN says:

    Ah, but MANY people said 2009 was Webber’s last chance – and look what happened. Write him off at your own peril.

  15. Cliff says:

    Hi James,

    Totally off topic. I arrived home last week to find a copy of your book. I’m going away for christmas…now my luggage is complete!!!

    Many Thanks and have a good christmas and new year!

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. Hope you enjoy it. Send me a review

  16. Steven says:

    Adrian Newey is the devil when he’s not on the team you cheer for, and a messiah and when he is. The man is a genius!!

  17. Paul Kirk says:

    Interesting that people say RBR have the “fastest car”/”best car”. Well I dunno bout that, Sure they had tricks that enabled them to do a quick quallifying lap when they needed one, also the car seemed to have an advantage in fast corners, but was not fast on the straights. I think if they qualified on the second or third row their results would have been different, it’s always easier to lead from the front! Newey obviously devised ways to get the car to perform especially well in qually, and we can’t argue that he managed to get the car/front wing/floor closer to the track than other teams managed, thereby achieving improved ground effects so they could negotiate fast turns quicker. (Photos proved that).
    I reckon there was quite a few very good cars competing this season. but qualifying was the trick.
    Next year will be interesting with all the new changes to the construction regulations. (And the silly bloody curse, I mean kers).
    I’m also hoping Mark Weber can be right up there again!
    Roll on February! (As someone above also said).
    PK.

    1. Jon says:

      The way F1 is, raw pace doesn’t help you if you are stuck back in the pack, as Alonso witnessed in Abu Dahbi. Without a straight line speed advantage overtaking is near impossible, as Hamilton showed in Brazil and Abu Dahbi.

      The other weakness for Redbull is that the races this season wasn’t a sprint on raw pace, it was about conservation and endurance. This automatically brings all the cars closer together. Meaning if you are third and in traffic and a McLaren or Ferrari is in clear air at the front, they will look the quickest, but the Redbull might be saving fuel waiting until the pitstops. All cars weren’t able to go flat out in the race due to their “trying to run as little fuel as possible” thing. As well as conserve engines. Not to mention only 1 pitstop to overtake cars with. Stupid rules. :/

      I do think Redbull was the fastest car in raw pace. It was just that some of their other weaknesses meant that they couldn’t use their pace at all times. Raw pace is only usable if you have clear air or a high straight line speed and the right circuit and circumstances for an opportunistic overtake.

  18. Bollo says:

    So balls, determination and doing it the hard way is not enough???? He surprised a lot of people this year. He can do it again.

    Look, he obviously wont be favorite but if he has a good car next year he will be well up there. End of story.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      I bet you’re talking about Mark Weber, Bollo, and I agree.
      PK.

      1. build says:

        Will it be as fast as Helmut’s boy?

      2. Bollo says:

        I certainly was. But ment to put that comment as a reply.

  19. Mr Squiggle says:

    Very interested to see Dr Marko’s comments.

    Its hard to know whether they are a peace offering to MW or an internal political play against Horner.

    In my view, (i’ve posted this before), I wonder whether Marko’s position in Red Bull is under threat for 2011. Just consider:

    1) Marko’s role is ‘talent development’ and the Red Bull development team is Torro Rosso, not Red Bull.

    2) His number one pupil (Vettel) is now world champion. Vettel will either want to stand on his own two feet, or will be derided by his peers for not doing so.

    3) Ain’t no way Mark Webber would take advice from Marko. Don’t try it Doctor, just don’t.

    I can see the good Doctor spending more time in the TR camp in 2011

    1. Jon says:

      The bad point about Dr Marko is that it was a perfect season for Redbull “alls well that ends well”. Vettel won, Webber ran him close, the team got huge publicity from their shunt and they won both titles. So maybe they won’t change a thing.

      1. build says:

        or Webber might be replace in ’12 but another aussie of helmets choosing?

  20. Carl Craven says:

    Adrian Newey . . . small team? Don’t Red Bull actually run 4 cars over 2 teams? While I acknowledge they are a new team, Newey himself is part of the old school establishment having worked at Williams and Mclaren and RBR must have easily had the budget of the big teams to develop the car.

    I am not taking anything away from the talent of Newey or the drivers, but small privateer they aren’t when they do infact NOT just race like Frank Williams, but have a huge amount of cash coming in from the parent company from selling pop.

  21. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any tips?

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