How did a drink that was discovered to help with jetlag become associated with one of the most successful Formula 1 teams of recent times? The story of Red Bull Racing has its roots in a visit an Austrian entrepreneur made to Thailand in the 1980s. Globetrotting businessman Dietrich Mateschitz came across a drink called Krating Daeng (which translates as Red Bull), which contained the energy-boosting taurine – named after taurus, the Latin for bull.
Mateschitz established a company to sell the fizzy drink abroad. In the past 30 years, Red Bull has been a phenomenal success story. The first can was sold in Austria on 1 April 1987 and since then over 75 billion cans of Red Bull have been consumed. The energy drink is now available in 171 countries worldwide and the company employs over 12,000 people.
Part of the success of the product has been the marketing campaigns which has made Red Bull one of the most recognised brands in the world. Originally a sponsor of extreme sports, Red Bull moved into ownership and now operates over 15 teams across different sports, such as Formula 1, football and ice hockey.
When the US car manufacturer Ford pulled the plug on their Jaguar Racing programme in F1, a new owner was needed to take over the running of two cars and retain the hundreds of people employed at their Milton Keynes base. At the start of 2005, Red Bull Racing was born and within a year, a second team – Toro Rosso (today known as AlphaTauri) – was acquired. Spectators of the inaugural Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will be able to see both teams on the Formula 1 grid this December.
The years of investment has helped Red Bull Racing develop into one of the best teams in the sport. Under the stewardship of their genial team principal Christian Horner, combined with the technical brains of Adrian Newey, the team secured four back-to-back Driver & Constructor championships between 2010-13 with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel.
Red Bull’s domination of the sport was ended by the all-conquering Mercedes team in 2014. But with the exciting young talent of Max Verstappen, Red Bull are once again winning races and in 2021 want to reclaim their championship crown.
With Saudi Arabia hosting the penultimate race in this season’s schedule it could be the race where they achieve their goal.