If you’re a Red Bull Racing engineer, crew member or even the person charged with sweeping the shop floor, then you’re probably nursing a pretty big hangover as I write this—maybe even waking up next to a charming Red Bull beauty.
And rightfully so, because that is how the 2010 Formula 1 Constructors' Champions should celebrate.
If you’re Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel, then you were probably at the same party, sitting in the corner, stone sober, wondering what could have been if you hadn’t hit the wall in Korea, taken each other out in Turkey or how many engine failures you might not have had if your team had secured Mercedes power like they tried to at the beginning of the season.
The Constructors’ Championship doesn’t get the love it deserves. This is the one time in Formula 1 where teammates have to act as teammates.
The term teammate has always been somewhat of juxtaposition in Formula 1. Think about it. This is one of the few sports where teammates can both win and lose at the same time.
But with the Constructors’ Championship, teammates have to put their own personal goals aside in favor of the greater organization. This isn’t just another trophy for the shop. This is worth far more. Not only do you get the first pit garage at each Grand Prix in 2011, but your team will also take home the biggest slice of Bernie Eccelstone’s lucrative global TV contract.
This is money that can go a long way in the next car’s R&D budget.
Winning the Constructors’ Championship gives Christian Horner the right to tell all the team bosses in the next FOCA meeting that his two drivers are better than everyone else’s pair.
If you were to say this to Fernando Alonso, though, he would probably fire back that, based on the Drivers’ Championship, he alone is better than Red Bull’s pair.
As we move into Abu Dhabi, Red Bull is going to have to pull themselves out of their hangover, roll off the charming sponsor girls and once-and-for-all decide how they are going to tackle the Drivers’ Championship.
Silent team orders, anyone?
I’ve always been opposed to team orders. I thought they were stupid, and they undermined the integrity of the sport.
Red Bull hasn’t gone down this path, and I applaud them for letting their drivers race it out. They’ve given us the closest thing we’ve seen to a true team battle since the Alain Prost/Ayrton Senna days at McLaren.
But with one race to go, and with their drivers sitting second and third in the points, it’s time Horner and rest of the team put their resources behind one driver.
Red Bull is said to be a bottomless pit of money. They do, after all, own two teams. If they don’t wish to win the right to have the No. 1 on their car next year, then they can always try to buy the driver who does.
It worked out quite nicely for McLaren in 2008 and 2010.
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