Jukka Mildh is YLE's F1-expert who works inside F1 and is a reporter. His articles are usually pure gold.
This article was very interesting claiming that Red Bull is about to become the new mighty in F1. What do you think?THE NEW F1-MIGHTY
Red Bull's double victory in Malaysia is a clear sign. The new motorsport mighty is rising. It has been almost impossible to break the traditional teams that are built on stone. Especially for a long time. Now this is happening.
Red Bull isn't yet leading the championship serie but you can still say that it's the leading F1-team at the moment. The team is a unity that works best and it has brilliant drivers. It has a car that has been superior when it comes to speed. The car has been designed carefully. Even so carefully that the team had the guts to skip several testing days before the season started. They have found a technical solution to the car which makes it superior to other cars when it comes to drivability and setups. The solution isn't as overwhelming as last year's double diffuser but the team has found something to the suspension. Something that they keep very well hidden.
In order to explain the reasons why Red Bull is the new F1-mighty, let's review the matter by painting a bigger picture.
Red Bull was built on the ruins of Jaguar. In practice the team has been developed with determination, in their own way and with a long-term plan from day one. Into their own direction.
Surprisingly they chose the former racer Christian Horner to run the team. I have to admit that at that time, five years ago, I didn't appreaciate Horner as a leader. He was leading Arden's GP-team and starting the F1-activity at the same time. Heikki Kovalainen drove back then for Arden in GP2 and the team made some weird decisions that for example suffocated the car's developmentwork. They were good in the beginning of the season and Kovalainen was leading the serie. Then all of a sudden everything stopped and Kovalainen's dreams of championship vanished at the same time.
Was this because of Horner's busy schedule or his way to act? Partly.
But I have to acknowledge today that the youngest team manager in F1 has done a good job. He has used the race budget well and got the right people to work for him in the right way. The most crucial choice of personnel was technical manager Adrian Newey who came to Red Bull from McLaren at the end of 2005.
Mark Webber declared after the race in front of the media in Malaysia that there is a good spirit inside the team. It's a significant thing in sporting and in companies. Also in F1 where these are one and the same.
You could sense the good spirit years ago. The feeling is lifted by the energy drink -company's attitude and modern grip to things. They do their jobs properly but quickly. Without forgetting the spark in the eye.
Drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are like day and night as persons. It was clearly seen from their faces after Malaysia GP. Whereas Vettel had the strenght to smile after a tough race Webber again was serious almost the whole time.
There are different kinds of attitudes but in the long run taking things too seriously might turn against you. Webber is a stonehard sportsman and a fast driver but he shows too easily his disappointments and shows in this way to his team mate and to the outside world his weaknesses. Vettel calls Webber a poker face but the Australian can't necessarily keep his cards close enough to his chest.
Webber got frustrated back in the times in Williams. He thought he went as a king to a winning team only to find himself in the team's strong falling trend. Webber thought that his chances to win the championship were vanishing. That's why Red Bull's contract came as a gift from God. He got into an ambitious project which had enough money to use. There was more or less only one sponsor and that's why he had less PR-work. This enabled him to concentrate only on the most important; to drive and perform. This is rare in most F1-teams where the driver's calendar is filled outside the races.
Webber is now sitting in a winning car but he has got to put more than everything into the game. He didn't get the first driver's place and he has to fight against Sebastian Vettel who is 11 years younger than him.
The race between the drivers is extremely tough but it's taking the team forward. Of all the driver pairings at the moment Webber and Vettel are the most harmonic even though they are opposites to each other.
Red Bull has chosen most of their drivers to their F1-program outside their own junior program. Helmut Marko, former F3-manager with a long line in motorsport and a debated person, often seen on the F1-paddock, he is in charge of the junior program's budget. His words is strong when it comes to choosing drivers to lower series but on F1-level decisions are made using different criterias. They include the team manager, the technical manager and of course the one who gives the blessing, the owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
One secret to success has been these wise driver choices. In the beginning they assumed that Red Bull would use especially their juniors since they have pumped millions of euros into them. F1 is yet a sport where youthful talent and eagerness isn't enough. The choices have to be made damn carefully and everything has to be taken into consideration.
You can now see the wisdom in hiring experienced drivers like David Coulthard and Mark Webber.
The wholeness is perfect. On top of Red Bull getting into the winners circle they also get to cash in the fruits which seamen they have planted with a big hand all over the world. Sebastian Vettel has practically raced during his whole racing career with Red Bull's money. In the meantime he has become a diamond. Vettel is only 22-years old and he is without doubt the fastest driver in F1 at the moment.
One shouldn't forget that he was 2nd in the championship serie last year!
Red Bull has existed for only six years. And it's already as mighty as Ferrari who has been in F1 ever since the 50's. You see rarely a development curve like this, very rarely.
Teams come and go. They rise and fall down. Many try to create a similar success story but only very few new entrepreneurs succeed in it.
Owners, sponsors and partners should be committed to at least five years, even ten years at a time. In practice you don't have quarters like that these days. You also have to get a committed personnel and make them give their everything for a certain cause. The whole team has to be made attractive to the best possible drivers and top engineers.
You have to find the optimal solution.
What is it then?
Let's review Ferrari's pattern. Racing belongs to the car factory's culture. During good and bad financial times the participation to F1 wasn't even questioned. Never.
The team has significant partners but all the decisions are made in Maranello and only in Maranello. Other teams feel the draft coming from many directions. You start giving too much power to significant partners so that they will stay with you.
Ferrari is one of the world's leading and most known brands. It attracts partners and strenghtens more than before Ferrari management's power to run the team's racing activity freely. Partners need Ferrari more than Ferrari needs them.
Ferrari's bosses have always been worshipped persons. Ferrari's culture is so mighty that the team's victories even get the church bells ringing. The Black Stallion is the symbol of victory and success.
Red Bull has as a company aswell as a team a short history and a young culture compared to Ferrari. But the pattern is similar.
I don't think it's a sacrilege to compare Enzo Ferrari and Dieter Mateschitz. Each success story requires a strong, initiative and idealistic person.
A Finnish top boss told me once about his experience when meeting Dieter Mateschitz for the first time in Red Bull headquarters in Austria. "When he stepped into the room through high doors made of oak his charisma filled the whole room."
Enzo Ferrari had the same affect on people.
Everybody wants to be dealing with Red Bull and Mateschitz. Red Bull is a tough brand and Mateschitz is a great boss, success personified. On top of that he has one significant limitating factor compared to other team owners. Mateschitz's own economy is in no way depending on the success of his F1-team.
Red Bull's quality is top class, no matter what the company does. It has conquered their own markets and F1-tracks quickly but convincingly. Soon we can even start talking about permanence.
I have made my own conclusions of a success pattern. The solution is in all it's simplicity that the main sponsor and the owner have to be the one and the same. You have to swear to only one name.
The Black Stallion has been the genre's leading figure throughout it's whole history.
And now it has got a threat on it's premises.
The Red Bull.