The revival of Red Bull Racing was complete in 2022. The team once described by Lewis Hamilton as ‘just a drinks company’ completed the double winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships for the first time since 2013. With 17 wins from 22 races, the team that was born as Stewart Racing in 1997 is now the most 5th successful F1 constructor of all time.
Jackie Stewart sold his team to Jaguar in 1999 but by 2004 Ford had decided there was no compelling case for any of its automotive brands to remain in Formula One.
Red Bull early days
The team was sold in November 2004 for a nominal $1 together with the commitment for the buyer to invest $400m over the next three seasons. Red Bull Racing was born with Christian Horner installed as team boss and David Coulthard and Christian Klein recruited as the drivers.
17 years later Red Bull Racing have clocked up 92 race wins and sit 5th in the all time constructors’ F1 victories.
Ferrari – 242
Mercedes – 125
Williams – 114
Red Bull – 92
RBR need to be ruthless
Red Bull Racing are here to stay and if they are to remain at the top of the sport, like others before them, the team will have to be ruthless in its decision making.
During a period of Williams. F1 dominance in the 1990’s, Frank Williams was the epitome of the ruthless team boss.
Having clinched the world title in 1995, Damon Hill was brutally replaced by Heinz Harold Frentzen and Williams Racing together with Villeneuve would then win again both F1 titles in 1997.
The Red Bull F1 team management have proven over the years they are no pushovers relegating Pierre Gasly mid season back to the junior team. Alex Albon was the latest Red Bull driver released and replaced by Sergio Perez.
Perez can’t compete
While not can be argued Perez has done his job as a number two driver this season, given his team won the constructors’ title by almost 200 points. Yet the squabble that began in Mexico when Perez reportedly asked the team to deliver him a win on home soil has since developed.
Red Bull’s Mexican driver scored 67% of Verstappen’s total this season, which Carlos Sainz managed around 80% of his Ferrari team mates tally.
Sergio again stirred the pot in Brazil when asking to be switched with Verstappen in an effort to claim P2 in the driers’ championship. Verstappen was not best pleased when the team put this to him refusing to allow his team mate through.
RBR management need to be ruthless
The question Red Bull management need to ask is whether their driver lineup is as good as it can be?
Certain F1 pundits during the Sky F1 season roundup are not so sure. Jenson Button believes the signing of Daniel Ricciardo as the Red Bull third driver is a ‘backup, in case the toys come out of the pram.”
Yet surely Perez knows his place and won’t rock the boat any further, particularly now with a 8 time grand prix winner waiting in the wings.
Yet Karun Chandhook believes Red Bull should be aiming their signs even higher.
“I think they [Red Bull] should be going hard to try and buy Lando Norris,” said the Indian born ex-F1 driver.
Norris is the future for Red Bull
Sky F1’s anchor Simon Lazenby agreed. “Absolutely, spot on. He’s got a contract at McLaren until the end of 2025, I wonder if he thinks that’s too long.”
Lando Norris has been driving a difficult McLaren car design yet finished the best of the rest ahead of both Alpine drivers in the championship final table.
Despite McLaren proving their appetite for litigious contract enforcement, Norris will have exit clauses based on the performance of the car and his relative finishing position to his team mate.
So if in 2023 McLaren fail to make the top 4 and Norris again outperforms his team mate Oscar Piastri, then a move to the world champions may be on the cars sooner than most people think.
Peak Perez or Peak Ricciardo? 🏁
The End of Season Review tonight on Sky Sports F1 at 9pm 📺 pic.twitter.com/hNqPmqXYgO
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) December 16, 2022