When I say Red Bull, you think what?
Energy drink? Formula 1 team(s)? Mobile phone provider? Hanger 7? Purveyor of sexy parties?
Red Bull, is many things, but Formula 1 Champions they are not.
It seems Austria’s answer to the Playboy brand is at an impasse. After years of having their logos adorn the mid-pack Sauber, and (briefly), former back-markers Arrows, they find themselves at the cusp winning both the drivers’ and the constructors’ championship.
And they’re doing it with their own team.
It was only six seasons ago that Red Bull Racing emerged from the ashes of what was once Jaguar Racing (In what actually started out as Stewart Grand Prix). Apart from an increased number of sexy parties and charming ladies in the paddock, nobody was sure what to expect from the team.
One thing was for certain, unlike other independent constructors, they had the money to buy success.
But would they spend it wisely?
Red Bull started off by revolutionizing the concept of the mobile hospitality unit. Unlike other teams, whose units can be as depressing as two trailers joined by a cheap canopy, Red Bull introduced one with both a patio and a swimming pool.
That’s well and fun, but keeping your partners refreshed and slightly drunk means nothing for on-track performance.
Red Bull is also on their third engine supplier in six seasons. They grandfathered in Cosworth from the old Jaguar days, dropped them for Ferrari, and then passed the Ferrari onto the juniors at Toro Rosso in favour of a Renault.
There were even reports that Red Bull was looking to swap Renault for Mercedes this season.
If they had pulled this off, then Red Bull would have had the distinguished honor of being the only team to have been powered by every single active engine supplier on the current grid.
Was there any truth to the Mercedes rumour? Probably, but don’t utter this around Vettel. I’m sure he’s wondering where he’d be in the points if he had said engine behind him.
A long with changing engines like spoiled rich kids, Red Bull made their biggest coup d'état when they signed renowned designer, Adrian Newey. Ironically, it was Red Bull predecessor, Jaguar, who had once unsuccessfully tried to sign him.
The combination of Newey and Renault seemed to work. And why wouldn’t it? Look what it did for Williams back in the 90s.
But this success has come at a price. There are two Grand Prix remaining and Red Bull needs to decide once and for all which driver they are going to support.
Christian Horner has gone on record by saying they’ll keep supporting both drivers. This, of course, is all BS. If Horner were to say the opposite, then that would "suggest" team orders, which of course are banned in Formula 1.
And if he were to say this then it’s almost a given that Ferrari’s Luca di Montezemolo would have the FIA throw the book at Red Bull, even though the FIA should proactively feed Ferrari the same section before every Grand Prix.
Red Bull needs to look at the facts: Massa will support Alonso, and Button, even though he still has delusions of 2009, will no doubt be told to do the same thing for Hamilton. And yes, I do realize that McLaren is saying otherwise, but refer to the previous paragraph on why no team can be open about this.
If Red Bull is serious about winning this championship, then they need to come to a decision soon.
Time isn’t something they have, as Alonso can actually clinch this weekend.
To do this, though, he’ll need Webber to hit a wall, and for Vettel’s Renault to say, "Au revoir."
Don’t laugh; there’s a good chance this could happen.