Red Bull strikes an important blow by signing the 'hard core' group

22-12-2021 10:32 | Updated: 22-12-2021 11:00
Red Bull strikes an important blow by signing the 'hard core' group

With the news that Christian Horner has extended his contract through to 2026 at Red Bull Racing, the team has secured key pawns for the future.

Stability is key to success in F1

For a Formula 1 team, nothing is more important than stability. If you look at successful Formula 1 teams from the past, they always built up their dominance step by step. First, the foundation has to be laid before success can be reaped. Just think about the successful periods of McLaren, Williams, Ferrari or Mercedes, where internal stability always ensured good results.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and especially in a year where the regulations are completely changed, one team might surprise you. The best example of this is of course BrawnGP, who in the winter of 2008/2009 wasn't even sure if there would be enough money to start racing, only to use the double diffuser to tear up the rest of the field.

In the long run, however, you will only be successful if the whole organisation is stable and works according to a clear vision. In F1, as in many other sports, Red Bull does things in a completely different way than people are used to in the sport. At Red Bull, they are more outspoken and are constantly in attack mode.

The Red Bull way

Horner is the ideal figurehead for this. When he started in the sport, he was a young ambitious team boss who still had to earn his spurs. It immediately showed what Red Bull stands for: giving young ambitious people a chance to do things their own way. Supported by Helmut Marko, Horner achieved extraordinary results with his team by winning the world drivers' and constructors' titles between 2010 and 2013.

Horner doesn't shy away from controversy. He knows very well that Red Bull wants to be in the spotlight. In the end, it's all about the sale of Red Bull cans, so negative attention is attention too. In the event of lesser results, as was the case between 2014 and 2020, Horner seeks the limelight in a different way.

Horner makes the right deals

Helped by Netflix, Red Bull got that extra attention, but Horner doesn't lose sight of the bigger picture. He made the deal with Honda to become a factory team again and not be dependent on Renault. When Honda decided to quit, he acted quickly and convinced Mateschitz that Red Bull could only remain competitive if they developed the engines themselves in Milton Keynes. He made it happen.

 Horner isn't just looking for attention for Red Bull, he also knows exactly what it takes to win a world title in Formula 1. He demonstrated this with the engine project, but also at a much earlier stage when he convinced Adrian Newey to come to Red Bull, even though Red Bull wasn't a top team in 2006.

Newey agrees

This also turned out to be a golden move for Horner. Newey has since designed ten cars that have won the constructors' world title for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Racing. The top designer is now also occasionally involved in another project, but the British designer is also responsible for Verstappen's world title.

In 2021, Horner announced that Newey had also extended his contract, keeping the core of Red Bull intact. It's an important move because although Newey may have been distracted by other projects in recent years, he remains by far the best designer in F1. If anyone is capable of taking advantage of the new regulations, it's him.

Newey has also been boosted (as crazy as that sounds for someone with such a job) to work hard for Red Bull, now that the engine has proved capable of taking on Mercedes. With engine development frozen for the next few years, Newey also knows that his design will be key to Red Bull becoming world champions.

The leader on the track

Besides a strong team boss, an advisor and a top designer, one more important link is needed, and that is of course the driver. Max Verstappen is already tied down to the end of 2023, but Red Bull and Verstappen want to extend the commitment. After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for example, Verstappen already indicated that he would not want to race for any other team.

Although these are words that other drivers have also spoken from time to time, there is no disputing the Verstappens' loyalty. They chose Red Bull and stuck to the project despite some setbacks. There is trust on both sides and that trust has paid off in 2021. So there is a good chance that Verstappen will be tied down to Red Bull for a longer period of time for a 'bigger fee'.

Although the first year of new regulations is usually a lottery and any team can come out on top, Red Bull are assured of a bright future with this trio. Between 2022 and 2025, the engines are fixed and there is a lot to gain in terms of aerodynamics. These guys have shown they belong to the top, so they should be able to compete at the top in these four seasons as well. This also gives Verstappen the best chance of winning more world titles.

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