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2007 Team Review - Red Bull 21 Nov 2007

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB3.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Friday, 28 September 2007 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB3 and David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB3 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Jerez, Spain, 8 February 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB3 has a fire after spinning at turn 1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 24 August 2007 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates his third position and first podium with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2007 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB3 gets out of his car after crashing out of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Sunday, 30 September 2007

The pit-lane’s self-confessed party team they may be, but above all else Red Bull want to be the toast of the pit lane for their results. And in 2007 they believed they had the right package to take a step closer to that dream. With a car designed by Adrian Newey, an engine supplied by title-holders Renault, and two of the grid’s most experienced drivers in Mark Webber and David Coulthard, many thought the same.

After being very nearly being outshone by ‘junior team’ Toro Rosso in 2006, Red Bull needed some stronger results in ’07 if they were to gain a firmer footing in the Formula One midfield. And with both brains and money on their side, the Christian Horner-led team were understandably touted as real contenders in the pre-season run-up.

It soon became clear, however, that the RB3 had problems. Fast it may have been, but without consistency the team struggled to make much of an impression. By June, Webber and Coulthard had notched up nine retirements between them and, like Toro Rosso, a great many of the car’s issues could be traced back to the team’s newly-introduced seamless-shift gearbox.

Competition in the midfield was tight too, and Red Bull faced stiff opposition from not just BMW Sauber and Renault, but also Williams, Toyota, Honda and even, on occasions, Super Aguri. All the same, the car was quick and when opportunity - and luck - were on their side, significant results were within reach.

Webber, for one, made a mark with several outstanding qualifying performances, while Coulthard’s fifth-place finish in Barcelona demonstrated just what the RB3 was capable of, if it could just get to the end of the race. In Spain Webber’s didn’t, thanks once more to hydraulic problems, and even Coulthard crossed the line only able to find fourth gear and above.

Keen to oust such gremlins, the team threw themselves into a massive programme of development. Former Honda technical chief Geoff Willis was brought on board to add extra muscle to Newey’s design crew and the team tested at every available opportunity.

Together Webber and Coulthard notched up 64 days at the test track - much more than many of their competitors. Upgrade followed upgrade and gradually the hard work began to pay dividends. Red Bull even celebrated a double points-scoring finish - and their first (and only) podium of the year - at the European Grand Prix.

There was still the occasional glitch, like Coulthard’s early exit at Spa, while plain bad luck also played a big part in the team’s results. Most notable of all was the collision between Webber and Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel at the Fuji Speedway that cost both drivers potential podium finishes.

The result would have almost certainly helped Red Bull draw even closer to Williams in the constructors’ standings. Without it, they ended the season in fifth on 24 points, nine behind their British rivals. Nevertheless, it was a marked improvement on their 2006 record of seventh place and 16 points, and having ironed out most of the RB3’s creases, the team can surely look back on this season as a positive step forward in their quest for success.