Race Blog
Italy 2013

Easy does it

It’s in the application, it’s in the dedication, it’s in the innovation. It’s in the tight-knit and disciplined all-as-one attitude. It’s in the slim-fitting team kit, the cool and casual travel gear, the genius designer, the on-the-money strategists, the brilliant champion driver. I could go on, and on, and on…

It’s simple, really: Red Bull Racing are just better than the rest. Better, that is, to such a degree it is surely becoming embarrassing for Formula 1’s phalanx of also-rans.

Just remember, this team have been in existence for nine years; that’s nine short years. Nine years… Three (soon to be four) constructors' championships, three (soon to be four) drivers' world titles, 40 grand prix wins,  50 pole positions, 20 front-row lockouts, 92 podium finishes, 2216.5 points scored, 36 fastest laps… I could go on, and on, and on…

Rising from the complete and utter debacle the wretched Jaguar Racing had been, Christian Horner and his crew have delivered well in excess of expectations.

How is it that this can be happening?

It’s a fact that ever since racing car wheels started rolling, certain team/driver combinations have got it utterly right and enjoyed a short-lived period of domination - Ferrari’s and Michael Schumacher’s graceless title sweep from 2000 to 2004 being the most recent example before Red Bull Racing's ascent. ‘But that’s at least a year longer than Red Bull’s current purple patch,’ I hear you cry! And of course, you’re correct.

I’d opine, however, that Red Bull have not had quite the ‘help’ – in pursuit of success – that the Scuderia and Schumacher ‘allegedly’ enjoyed. Perhaps I’m wrong… Milton Keynes' finest have enjoyed ‘help’ of sorts, I guess, namely their rivals’ abject failure to deliver.

Why is it always Red Bull who cross the line last in Q3 rather than appearing simply to guess when to roll? Why do they evolve a winning car package rather than attempt something revolutionary for ill-advised reasons? Why do they make intelligent race strategy decisions rather than missing obvious traffic and time-wasting pit stop choices?

Because Red Bull Racing apply themselves, they work it out and they rigorously execute their plans.

Right now, as I write, Daniel Ricciardo is sliding his backside into a 2011 RB7. As is their duty, Pirelli asked every F1 team if they’d like to participate in a 1000-kilometre 2014-spec tyre test at Barcelona this week.

What a surprise. It’s the Milton Keynes crew who’ll be stealing a march on all the rest.

While on track RBR are peerless, there is perhaps one area of their operation where they trail their rivals – press communication. Seemingly hamstrung by an overbearing Austrian control ethic, the mostly girls – and some guys – that front the drinks company’s media message in the F1 paddock can sometimes seem a little bereft of humour, with an occasional willingness to ‘bully’ any F1 journalists who ‘step out of line’ and tell the ‘story’ not quite to Salzburg’s liking.

Look at the way the team were blindsided by Mark Webber’s British Grand Prix ‘I’m outta 'ere, mate’ retirement announcement. Sure, there’s bad blood in some areas of the Australian’s relationship with the team, but a little less concern with journalists' words and more with drivers' plans would have served the team well.

Back on track, as is often the case, consistent race and title winners can become unpopular. This is amplified if a team carries little allure and can’t trade on a past of leather-helmeted, goggle-wearing, exotically named heroes holding skinny wooden steering wheels while powering their legendary cars around dusty tracks, dodging a violent death at every turn.

The rude, disrespectful, undeserving cretins who at Montreal and Monza this year roundly booed Sebastian Vettel’s crushing race-winning drives show an ignorance of the German's greatness that is sad to hear.

Sure, I know that at Sepang 2013 the three-times world champion made himself public enemy number one by doing what ruthless sporting greats do: being ruthless. Passing everybody’s favourite ‘number two’ driver – Mark Webber – was bound to rile all ‘n’ sundry, but a better appreciation of what goes to make up a multi-title winning racer might dampen these fools' ire.

So when at Suzuka, Buddh, Yas, COTA, or Interlagos, Sebastian Vettel and his team are crowned kings of our sport for the fourth time, don’t be a bore and boo.

Retain your capacity for astonishment, marvel that you are witnessing the execution of modern day Formula 1 to almost frightening levels of perfection.

It doesn't get better than this.


Please enjoy my 2013 Italian Grand Prix picture gallery by clicking here.

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