“Gives you wings” – is definitely the apt tagline for the Austrian energy drink giant Red Bull looking at its involvement in various extreme motorsports worldwide. It is this association of the brand which gives it an ‘extreme’ image in front of the world. It also sponsors talented drivers and athletes to give them a chance to rise and shine in their area of expertise. In today's story, we take a look at some of Red Bull’s ventures.
Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team
The Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team came into existence in 2004, when the energy drink manufacturer decided to buy the Jaguar Racing team which was up for sale. Christian Horner was announced as the team principal (which he even is now) and David Coulthard and Christian Klein were announced as drivers.
The team raced under the British License for the year 2005 and 2006 and has raced under Austrian since 2007. Coulthard was joined by Mark Webber in 2007, where the team finished 6th. By the time Coulthard had retired at the end of 2008, the team again dropped to 7th.
Sebastien Vettel stepped-in as the driver in the 2009 season, which coincided with a major overhaul in aerodynamic regulations of the Formula One sport. As the new regulations were implemented, somehow RBR made it big.
History was created in 2010 as Vettel was crowned the youngest world champion and the team got its first constructor's championship. Next three year saw the team decimate its rivals and Vettel dominated the sport by winning 4 championships back-to-back till the 2013 season.
2014 saw the retirement of Webber from the sport and also the dawn of the Hybrid Era which hasn’t been too kind to the team till now. 2015 season saw Vettel making a move to the Team Squadra Rossa and then the lad from Russia was promoted to the RBR seat, which well to be honest didn’t end well.
As the earth made another revolution around the sun, the 2016 season saw the team rise to the second place in the team standings, but the name on everybody's lips was Max Verstappen, the Dutch driver who was promoted to Red Bull after just 4 races in the season replacing Kyvat. Well, what followed was embedded in the history of Formula 1. He got to the best start possible, by winning the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix and subsequently taking the crown of youngest ever winner of a Formula 1 race.
The major change came in 2019 as the team broke its 11-year-old partnership with Renault and partnered with the Japanese engine manufacturer Honda. Daniel Ricciardo moved to Renault and the Frenchman Pierre Gasly was promoted to Red Bull. The season was a bit of a success as it saw Max win the Austrian GP, his first race of the season and Honda’s first win since 2006. Max also finished 3rd in the driver’s championship, his best till date. It also saw the debut of Alex Albon in Alpha Tauri, from which he was promoted to Red Bull after 11 races in the season
The season 2020 consisted of a short 17 race calendar due to the pandemic. The team came 2nd in the constructor's championship while Max came 3rd in the driver’s championship.
In season 2021 Red Bull Racing is charging ahead with Max Verstappen, and the experienced Mexican Sergio Perez whose come back drives are simply put, legendary.
Red Bull Ring
The fearsome track of Osterreichring came to be known as Red Bull Ring when Red Bull’s Deitrich Mateschitz bought it in the late 2000s. The circuit originated in 1969, was reworked upon by Hermann Tilke and has hosted numerous Austrian Grand Prix.
It is one of the most scenic circuits in the F1 calendar and is located in Spielberg, Styria, Austria. The Styrian mountains make a very pleasant environment and setting for a Grand Prix.
There are numerous tourist attractions like the Graz Museum dedicated to the city's favorite son, Arnold Schwarzenegger, keeping the tourists engaged.
This 4.318 Km circuit packs a short lap. The first half of the circuit focuses on the usage of raw power as drivers rocket through the three straights separated by a pair of uphill right-handers. After that circuit transitions into downhill and drivers maneuver the cars through a series of quick corners including the famous Rindt corner, named after Jochen Rindt - Austria’s first F1 champion.
Red Bull Motorsports India
Red Bull entered the Indian Market in 2009 and has sponsored numerous Indian athletes and organized number of events in India. The list of the event includes amazing experiences like the Red Bull Showrun which saw a Formula 1 car being driven in Hyderabad by David Coulthard.
Remember we said something about Rise and Shine?
Well, wwo significant names when it comes to the relation between Red Bull and India are Jehan Daruvala and Mira Erda, two of India's finest rising racing drivers.
Jehan Daruvala had no clue where he would end up when he started karting, the entry-ticket to the world of motorsports at the age of 13 in 2011. He was coached under the guidance of Rayomand Banerjee who was instrumental in laying the foundation of his future. He also raced in Formula Renault 2.0.
Jehan participated in the European Formula 3 with the Carlin team and outscored every teammate except Lando Norris who became the champion. He moved to FIA Formula 3 in 2019 with Prema Powerteam and won 2 races scoring seven podiums and finishing 3rd in the championship.
Daruvala was reunited with Carlin as he contested for the FIA Formula 2 championship and was later recruited in the Red Bull Junior Team. He later also won his first F2 race.
Mira Erda started karting when she was 9 years old and just after 25 days of training, competed in the 2010 JK Tyre Rotax Max Championship. Later that year she participated in her first international race. Erda is India's first female open-wheel racer.
She made her way to the JK Racing Championship 2014 through consistent performance and became the youngest Formula 4 girl driver. She became the Formula 4 Rookie-Champion of the Year 2016 and was honoured by the FMSCI.
In 2017 she became the first Indian woman to race in the Euro JK series, and in 2019 won her first-ever international podium by finishing first in the Ladies category in Round 2 of the FIA Formula 4 SEA Championship at the Sepang International circuit, Malaysia.
The above article was just a brief introduction of Red Bull’s involvements in Indian and international motorsports. Red Bull Motorsports is a very vast portfolio and the list includes many other activities like WRC, DTM, Dakar, etc. Not everything can be shared about them in a single article. Let’s save the other bits for our next visit to Austria.