Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz has handed out all of the staff bonuses to his team following their double world championship victory this season, according to German newspaper Bild.
It has been estimated that the majority of the 500 staff in Milton Keynes were given £10,000 for their troubles over the season, while more senior staff earnt themselves a bonus of about £42,000 for their part in the victories.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel earnt himself around £2.6million for winning the world championship, on top of the extra sponsorship money and revenue he will now command following the championship victory. Proctor & Gamble have already signed a new sponsorship deal with the young German.
It is merely a drop in the ocean for owner Mateschitz, himself a millionaire, who is expected to receive about £62million in prize money for the championship wins. He has always maintained however that his wallet is not a bottomless pit when it comes to the budget for the team, they are estimated to have a middle ground budget of between €300million and €500million. Toyota were the top budget spenders in F1, but it is likely that Ferrari have regained the crown of the largest spenders in F1.
Dietrich Mateschitz has been forced to deny that one of his Formula One teams, Scuderia Toro Rosso is up for sale.
It had been reported online earlier this week that the team, based in Faenza, was up for sale at a paltry €30million. The team was formerly known as Minardi until the end of 2005 when Mateschitz took control of the outfit and rebranded it to fit in with his Red Bull portfolio. Designed as a feeder team to the main Red Bull squad, it had been using repaints of the senior teams cars until this year when the rules on customer cars was finally sorted.
The team are most famous for producing the 2010 title challenger Sebastian Vettel who joined at the end of 2007, winning their first and only Grand Prix at Monza in 2008. He was then promoted to the senior Red Bull Racing team.
“There are constant rumors about it, but now we have no plans to sell Toro Rosso,” Mateschitz’s PA told 422race.com.
Despite the denial of sale there are reported to already be a number of people interested in purchasing the team, should Mateschitz decide to sell. These include Carlos Slim, the Mexican entrepreneur who has always been interested in buying in to the F1 dream. Another interested party is Jacques Villeneuve along with the Duragno group who failed to succeed in becoming the 13th team for 2011. Stefan GP have also been linked with purchasing the team now they have severed all links with the former Toyota outfit.
Kimi Raikkonen has backed away from claims he was about to make a shock return to Formula One next season with the Renault team.
Raikkonen, who won the F1 world championship in 2007, left the sport at the end of last season. He now races in World Rally with the Citroen Junior Team in partnership with Red Bull.
Reports from within the Renault team camp suggested that they had made an offer for Kimi to join Robert Kubica at the team for next season replacing Vitaly Petrov. However today Raikkonen suggested he was happy with rallying, for the time being at least.
“I don’t miss Formula 1 and I am enjoying what I am doing now,” Raikkonen told reporters
“I have still not decided what I am doing next year yet. Soon I have to decide, maybe it will be just after Rally Finland.”
Meanwhile Oliver Quesnel of Citroen Motorsport was confident the Finn would sign for another season.
“I’m sure this will happen,” he said. “For myself, he is really involved in rallying and he wants to succeed. I will be pleased if he will stay. he has done one year and he needs to do one more year to make sure.”
Red Bull are said to be very happy with their partnership with Raikkonen, and there is still a possibility he could return to F1 in 2012 but with the high flying Red Bull team in place of Mark Webber. He would theoretically be racing alongside Sebastian Vettel.
Red Bull’s slogan gave me that terrific title you read above, okay perhaps its no better than something you might read in a tabliod newspaper like The Sun but this weekend’s controversy surrounding the Red Bull Racing team once again highlights the problems with in-team politics and the effect it can have on the drivers.
Mark Webber was denied the use of the new Red Bull front wing, after his was given to team mate Sebastian Vettel for qualifying whose new wing had been damaged in Saturday morning practice. The Australian was duly annoyed when Vettel took pole position. It was another item of favouritsm toward the young German from this season, Webber is even using one of Sebastian’s old chassis.
Despite all of this, Webber managed to win the Grand Prix – barging Vettel off the road into turn 1 – but no amount of nice press photos with Christian Horner and Adrian Newey could put the lid on the problems within the team. Mark claimed down the radio on victory “not bad for a second driver”, a clear point towards his status within the team – or at least his percieved status. Red Bull had defended themselves by claiming they were giving the championship leader the advantage, but we will see if that is true in Germany as Webber now leads the standings ahead of Red Bull favourite Vettel.
“Whether the gap between us in qualifying was the difference between the two front wings, I don’t know,” said Webber after last weekend’s British Grand Prix. “But it was a far from ideal situation and it definitely made my win taste even sweeter.”
Christian Horner came out in the Monday newspapers claiming he regretted not speaking with Webber before the decision was made, and he categorically denied that it had anything to do with Helmut Marko or Dietrich Mateschitz the owners of the Red Bull Energy Drink brand.
“There has never been any pressure from Red Bull to favour one driver over the other.” Horner told The Daily Telegraph in England
“I didn’t have a conversation with Helmut or anyone from Red Bull regarding the decision to give Sebastian the wing. It was purely a technical decision, which I discussed with Adrian [Newey].
“My one regret is that I didn’t have time to discuss the issue with Mark personally prior to qualifying as I’m sure that would have given him a more balanced understanding.”
We have seen many instances of team bias and favouritsm over the years, most recently with the arguments between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at McLaren, a row which has never really been cleared up and forced the Spaniard to leave the team and then earlier between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello during their time at Ferrari.
Top teams have trouble keeping their drivers together and motivated, especially when they are fighting for the championship – Barrichello even had trouble with Brawn GP last year with their dominance. However this is the first time we have seen the management of a team really getting involved and openly favouring one driver over another, even during the Schumacher days at Ferrari they did not willingly pass equipment or new parts over Barrichello – definitely not during a race weekend in any case.
The path Red Bull now tread with Webber is a difficult one, but they really have the Australian cornered to an extent. He has signed a new contract, and there aren’t really any race seats with top teams on offer for next season. He could potentially leave the team, who are looking likely to win the world championship, and head to Renault alongside Robert Kubica. That would leave the door wide open for Red Bull sponsored rally driver Kimi Raikkonen to come back to F1. Or Webber can just live with the favouritism toward Vettel and get on in trying to win the World Championship.
Nick Fry, the CEO of Mercedes Benz has seen these problems before, having dealt with the Button/Barrichello problems last year and advises Red Bull to sort the issues out quickly otherwise they have the potential of shooting themselves in the foot.
“I do sympathise on the one hand with them,” said Fry
“But one of the main points is to stop shooting yourself in the foot. Just looking at it from the outside, there seems to be a case of Red Bull causing more problems than they need to.
“They have clearly got the fastest car by quite a margin, and they should be way ahead of the rest of us, and they are not. So they do need to look at themselves and try and work out what they are doing wrong.
“They are beating themselves – which is very satisfying for the rest of us but it should not be what they are up to.”
All I know is, I am glad I am not in Christian Horner’s shoes this week!!
Christian Horner has openly dismissed the rumours circulating that his red Bull Racing team was about to hand the 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen a race contract for the 2011 season.
Raikkonen quit Ferrari at the end of last season so the team could take on Fernando Alonso. After failing to agree terms with McLaren, the former champion Raikkonen went off to race in the World Rally Championship for the Citroen Junior Team. At the time there was speculation he had a return to F1 contract signed with Red Bull, following the drink manufacturer becoming the Finn’s title sponsor with Citroen.
When asked about Kimi returning was a possibility Horner said “No. Kimi has committed himself to rallying, and he seems to be enjoying that environment.
“We have been happy with the job that Mark is doing, so why would you change?”
Mark Webber now looks set to recieve a big contract to stay with the team for another year, as the 2011 silly season’s big movers are set to stay in their current environments. Felipe Massa is set to be offered another contract by Ferrari and Robert Kubica will commit himself to another season with Renault.
“When we sit down and talk about it, it will be very straightforward,” said Horner. “Mark is an important member of the team, he enjoys driving for the team and we have a great balance between our two drivers. So, it is the usual thing – if it is not broken, don’t fix it.
“I think that it is clear where our intent is, it is clear where his intent is. It is just a matter of sorting out the paperwork with his management, but in the coming weeks I am sure that will be sorted.”
Force India and Red Bull Racing have confirmed that they will be running F-Ducts in the practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend as they evaluate whether the air flow control mechanism is a worthy new technical advancement to their cars.
Vitantonio Liuzzi told reporters that the Force India team were very confident of their system, a system which is operated by the drivers wrist.
“We are really optimistic about it,” Liuzzi said. “You can never know. It might change tomorrow, but the team has done a big work in the wind tunnel for the last two weeks to test it and it seemed to work pretty well.
“Tomorrow we’ll get the confirmation because on track you never know, but we are pretty optimistic that it should be spot on.”
“We made a simple system with the wrist so we don’t have to take the hand off the steering wheel,” he added.
Meanwhile Red Bull Racing’s man of the moment Mark Webber told reporters in the pre-race press conference that Red Bull were to evaluate their own F-Duct system as they try and maintain their recent dominance.
“Yes, we will give the F-duct a go tomorrow,” Webber said during a pre-event press conference in Turkey. “We will give it a chance.”
Ferrari, who were one of the first teams to use the system are going to try a variation on the position of the hole that needs to be covered in order to stall the air during practice.
A deal taking 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen into the World Rally Championship has been confirmed this morning after large speculation the Finn had signed on the dotted line last night.
Raikkonen vacated his race seat at Ferrari at the end of last season to allow Fernando Alonso a shot with the Scuderia for 2010 onwards.
He has joined the Citroen Junior World Rally team, with Red Bull backing alongside Sebastian Ogier.
However rumours that it will lead to an F1 drive with Red Bull Racing for 2011 for Raikkonen have been quashed somewhat in an interview with a Red Bull spokesperson.
“This has no prejudice at all for Kimi’s further F1 career if he intends one” He said
“It does not mean at all that he will replace a current Red Bull F1 driver in our team from 2011.”
Raikkonen admitted he is delighted to reach a life time goal and compete professionally in rallying.
“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career,” said Raikkonen.
“Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroen C4. This is a new but very exciting challenge.”