Red Bull universally praised as team jet home
16 November, 2010
Nov.16 (GMM) Red Bull’s policy of driver equality ultimately helped Sebastian Vettel to win the 2010 drivers’ world championship.
In the days and weeks leading into the Abu Dhabi finale, numerous commentators chided the team’s reluctance to make points leader Mark Webber the de facto number 1, including by switching the finishing order in Brazil.
It would have meant Red Bull went into battle last weekend “with only one driver with a chance instead of two — and probably the wrong driver,” said Dr Helmut Marko.
And “It is always better to have two strings to one’s bow instead of one”, added the energy drink company’s motor sport consultant.
It has been suggested that the equality policy confused Ferrari when Red Bull split its two drivers’ race strategies after the early safety car in Abu Dhabi.
“Our policy of allowing the drivers to compete got us into the position where they (Ferrari) had to worry about two of our drivers and not just one,” said Adrian Newey, the designer of the RB6.
“It depended on whether they wanted to cover Mark for the championship or Sebastian for the championship,” he added. “In the end they chose to cover the wrong one.”
Niki Lauda, who was one of the strongest voices in favour of the use of team orders before Abu Dhabi, conceded on Monday that Red Bull actually made the right call — and an honourable one. “‘Didi’ (Dietrich Mateschitz) said he would do it like the Olympic Games, but F1 is not the Olympics.”
“It’s incredible how this team won in the end in the most correct way,” the triple world champion is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper in Austria.
“For me, it’s unique in the 60 year history of the sport,” added Lauda. “If there were only two, three politicians who acted like Mr Mateschitz, we would be in a better place.”
Meanwhile It was a homecoming to end all homecomings when Vettel – Formula 1′s youngest ever world champion – stepped off a private jet at Salzburg airport, flanked by Red Bull Racing team mate Mark Webber, team boss Christian Horner and design guru Adrian Newey, he came full circle in a journey that began when he was picked up as a teenage talent by Red Bull’s young driver programme.
With backing from Red Bull since he raced in junior single-seaters, right through to his Formula 1 debut with the BMW team, then to his first Grand Prix win with Scuderia Toro Rosso and now, his first world championship with Red Bull Racing, Vettel has always stood out as a special talent.
So it was fitting that less than 24 hours after clinching the 2010 Formula world drivers’ title in such dramatic fashion in Abu Dhabi, he should return to the spiritual home of the company that gave him wings.
Looking weary yet still full of bounce, he strode across the runway tarmac towards Red Bull’s Hangar-7 building where he was greeted by an early gaggle of fans and hungry media. A welcome party for these four senior representatives of the new world champion race team was in preparation and by the time everything was in place a few hours after their arrival, a throng of up to 1,000 had gathered to hail and greet them.
Vettel, still buzzing and not yet accustomed to this extreme of adulation managed, just managed, to take it all in his stride, but the width of his perma-grin gave away the sheer elation he had been feeling since crossing the line first at the Yas Marina circuit.
“Where do I go now,” he asked one of his assistants as he tried to navigate his way to a celebration picture shoot. Her answer – correctly – was “downstairs”, but in truth, for this gleaming new world champ, the only way is up.