« Red Bull has an extremely aggressive roadmap », judge Cyril Abiteboul to explain the team’s success

It’s a « success stories » as little is done. Landed in Formula 1 27 years ago, the Red Bull firm has since built an empire. With millions, with audacity too. Like all stories of this type, that of the Austrian firm has its share of mystery, fantasy, even darkness. As she approaches her national Grand Prix at the Spielberg circuit, Sunday July 10, Franceinfo: sport takes stock of the Red Bull galaxy.

The red bull stable rushed into the stretchers to find a place in the arena, not hesitating to shake up the codes and the established order. First specializing in the sponsorship of extreme sports, Red Bull attempted the adventure of the queen discipline of motorsport in 1995 by teaming up with the Sauber team. Then, having acquired enough experience in the paddock, it took the plunge by buying Jaguar in quick succession in 2004, and Minardi the following year. The revolution was on.

« It is first and foremost the will of a manager, shareholder and owner of his brand, passionate about motorsport and who has created a marketing war machine »Explain from the outset Cyril Abiteboul about Dietrich Mateschitz, the group’s founder. And our consultant, former sporting director of Renault F1, to summarize: « Everything is linked to the narrative of this brand, based on performance and the extreme ». Mateschitz has continued to develop this concept, both for its energy drinks and for its single-seaters.

« After sponsoring Sauber he said to himself that he would never be better served than by himself.says Cyril Abiteboul again. More than any other team, Red Bull has been able to invest in a continuous, significant and multidirectional way.. If money is of course the keystone of the building, it has been intelligently used. « Stability is perhaps the most founding element of success »continues Cyril Abiteboul. « If you look closely, the staff of Red Bull has changed very little over time. Whether it’s going well or not. And when it’s not going well, they don’t fire everyone like that sometimes be done in F1. »

This desire to always move forward is also combined with a keen sense of the opportunities to be seized. Thereby, « When Mateschitz was offered a second team, in this case Minardi, he didn’t hesitate. He renamed it Toro Rosso, a literal translation of Red Bull in Italian, and used it as an incubator for its young drivers. It’s a strategy invented along the way but which has proven to be extremely profitable »decodes the consultant.

« When they decide on something, they look for the best on the planet. »

Cyril Abiteboul, former sporting director of Renault F1

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The latter does not hide his admiration when it comes to evoking the degree of excellence achieved by the Milton Keynes firm. « They have totally mind-blowing equipment. The means they have acquired, and those they have developed themselves, are extraordinary. They have taken the simulation tools to a level never imagined », he breathes. And to sum up the Red Bull philosophy as follows: « They have an extremely aggressive track record. The strength of Red Bull is that they never stop investing. »

If today Red Bull « who has long benefited from having only the chassis of his car to take care of » recalls Cyril Abiteboul, allows himself to make fun of manufacturers as prestigious and seasoned as Mercedes or Ferrari, it is above all because they are « ultra opportunists ». The latter even spins the metaphor of motor racing, noting that« they brake later than the other teams to see what is the best trajectory to take ». For Cyril Abiteboul, « they have the intelligence of the balance of power. The investment gives them a posture in the negotiations which is just unbeatable ».

On the other hand, Cyril Abitboul is more reserved about the management of the drivers within the Austrian firm. « In this area too, they show themselves to be extremists. This is perhaps the only point where one could reproach them for a certain lack of patience, even of humanity »he observes. « They see the driver as one of the components of their overall tool. But, in the end, the system works and they have brought out talents like Vettel, Ricciardo or Verstappen ».

The case of Pierre Gasly, ejected from the parent company to return to the Toro Rosso subsidiary in the middle of the 2019 season, still surprised the former director of the Renault team. « Perhaps they didn’t want to make the effort to put Pierre in a favorable psychological mood? »he asks himself. « When you arrive at Red Bull, it’s a chance but it’s also a lot of pressure ».

Behind this pressure hides the famous Christian Horner, the omnipotent, and sometimes maligned, director of the team. « It is divisive, of course, but it is above all effective »slice Cyril Abiteboul. « The results speak for him. One could retort that he lacks emotions in his human relationships, but F1 is not a sport where you make feelings. Only efficiency counts. » To this apparent coldness, Christian Horner has however been able to add a good dose of humor which makes him one of the best clients of racing journalists. « He’s a communication beast and the king of the punchline »confirms Abiteboul.

If the vagueness remains for 2023, because Honda will no longer equip the team with engines next season, the short term looks bright: « I see them as double world champions [pilotes et constructeurs] this seasonconcludes Cyril Abiteboul. Ferrari is doing everything to help them and Mercedes is making progress but is going too far. » If the brand claims that it gives wings, no one in F1 seems able to cut them off for the moment.

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