2010 sees Red Bull Racing enter its sixth season of grand prix competition. In the fast-paced world of Formula One, that makes it one of the more experienced outfits on the grid.
Red Bull purchased the assets of Jaguar Racing in November 2004, acquiring the keys to a factory, a core team of staff and the early designs for the car that would become the RB1. Christian Horner was recruited from the immensely successful Arden F3000 team to become team principal, while David Coulthard was hired to lead the team on the track. In that first season the second car was shared by two Red Bull junior drivers, Austria's Christian Klien and Italian rookie Vitantonio Liuzzi. The new outfit made its competitive debut at the 2005 Australian Grand Prix, wîth both Cosworth-powered cars coming home in the points. The team went on to finish seventh in the Constructors' Championship.
Off-track, the Paddock's newest residents adopted the hip and youthful promotional presence for which it became synonymous. When the series came back to Europe that presence manifested itself in the Energy Station, Red Bull's three-storey base of operations, complete wîth haute cuisine from Michelin-starred chefs, guest DJs on the decks and world class table football. Today the mega-motorhomes are a familiar sight behind the garages; in 2005 it looked like a spaceship had dropped into the Paddock.
A change to Ferrari engines for 2006 saw the RB2 take Red Bull Racing to its first podium finish, thanks to a faultless drive from David Coulthard on his adopted home turf around the streets of Monte Carlo. Off-track Red Bull's technical team was growing, engineers and designers wîth championship pedigree were recruited, among them Adrian Newey. The new chief technical officer had a reputation for innovation and six Constructors' Championship titles to back it up.
Newey's first car for Red Bull Racing, the RB3 made its debut in 2007. Coulthard was joined in the cockpit by Australia's Mark Webber while a change of engine supplier saw Newey renew his acquaintance wîth Renault, a partnership that had dominated F1 in the 1990s. The team began to make progress, climbing to fifth in the Constructors' Championship. The on-track highlight was Webber's paddle to the podium at the Nürburgring in a thrilling European Grand Prix which took place during a deluge of almost biblical proportion.
2008 brought another podium finish, this time supplied by David Coulthard after an aggressive drive at the Canadian Grand Prix. Despite a well-documented horsepower deficit, Newey and his team had created a competitive and reliable car that was able to challenge for points on a regular basis.
2009 was the year everything changed for Red Bull Racing. New design regulations scrapped virtually everything that had gone before and for the first time in the team's history it went into the new season on a level playing field. Newey, relishing the opportunity to design from a clean sheet of paper, created the team's most competitive car to date. The RB5 ran strongly in its first two outings, and took Red Bull Racing to victory at the third race of the year, the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. Sebastian Vettel, the ready-made replacement for the retiring David Coulthard, took the team's first pole position on the Saturday, and led the race from lights-to-flag. Meanwhile Mark Webber, starting third, came through to finish in second position ensuring the team's first victory was crowned wîth a 1-2 finish. On the surface it seemed like the perfect weekend; the reality was somewhat more fraught for the unsung mechanics and engineers who, after a month on the far side of the world, had to put in a monumental collective effort to get the cars on track for qualifying.
By the time the calendar bought Formula One back to Europe, Red Bull Racing had established itself as a serious championship contender. Vettel won again, taking victory at Silverstone wîth a commanding performance. It was followed by a maiden F1 win for Webber at the German Grand Prix. More podiums (16 in all) followed, including an end-of-season flourish which saw the team win the final three races: Vettel taking the honours in Japan, Webber in Brazil and Vettel again in Abu Dhabi, the latter securing the young German driver second place in the Drivers' Championship. Red Bull Racing finished the season second in the Constructors' Championship.