If ever there was an unlikely Formula One championship-winning team, it would be Red Bull Racing. Built from the ashes of Ford-backed Jaguar Racing (which in turn came from the wreckage of Stewart Grand Prix), the team reportedly sold for just $1 and a commitment to invest $400 million over the following three seasons.
In 2005, Red Bull Racing debuted with Cosworth engines and drivers David Coulthard and Christian Klien. Christian Horner was hired as the team principal, thanks to his strength as a Formula 3000 driver and team manager.
Even the team’s rookie season showed promise, exceeding the stated goal of a ninth place finish (Jaguar Racing’s best showing) by season-end in the very first race. At the end of the year, Red Bull was seventh in the constructor’s championship.
Chief technical office Adrian Newey joined the team from McLaren in February of 2006, but work on the Red Bull RB2 chassis (now with Ferrari power) had been finalized before his arrival. Though the year had its bright spots (including a podium finish in Monaco, requiring Horner to jump naked into a swimming pool), the team again finished seventh in championship points.
It’s third season, 2007, saw the hiring of driver Mark Webber and the switch to Renault power. With Newey now in charge of car design, the team moved up to fifth in the constructor’s championship, but slid back to seventh the following year.
The big change for 2009 was Sebastian Vettel replacing David Coulthard behind the wheel. The RB5 chassis proved very competitive and both drivers routinely enjoyed podium finishes throughout the season. The team finished second in the constructor’s championship, paving the way for its domination of the past three seasons.
If you’re a fan of Formula One racing, this video is well worth half an hour of your time, even if you don’t cheer for Red Bull Racing, Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel. Can the team continue its success next year, in Infiniti Red Bull Racing livery? We’ll find out in March.