Exclusive Q&A - Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz 26 Jan 2007
Third time lucky goes the saying. If its more than a saying, then the Red Bull RB3 - to be unveiled in Barcelona today - could be the surprise of the season. But even if 2007 only paves the way for a more glorious 2008, Red Bull chief Dietrich Mateschitz seems more than satisfied with how his companys involvement in Formula One racing has developed. It has proved that the sport has plenty to give - even if you dont make regular podium appearances. All you need is vision - something Red Bull has never been short of
Q: Red Bull committing to Formula One racing was a great moment for the sport, as it added a unique culture to the paddock. How would you sum things up two years on?
Dietrich Mateschitz: Of course we primarily had marketing reasons to enter F1 and we do believe that with our Energy Station, the Formula Unas, the Red Bulletin and our way of life we achieved our goals and brought an added value to the paddock. But everybody who knows Red Bull and our commitment to sports knows that we are at least as ambitious where our sporting performance is concerned as we are towards entertainment. This still has to be achieved and this is why we doubled our budget, our people, updated our wind tunnels and, last but not least, asked Adrian Newey to join the team. Our respective goals and expectations for the 2007 season correspond.
Q: Obviously, this is not all happy-go-lucky fun - there was sound business reasoning behind Red Bull getting involved. Has that reasoning matched up with the reality?
DM: Of course we must, and do, have serious reasons for our involvement in F1. The idea was to bring together one of the most exciting brands in the world with one of the most - if not the most - exciting kind of sports - a coming together of F1 and Red Bull images, which could hardly be closer.
Q: Among your numerous sports involvements, what significance does Formula One racing have - both in marketing terms and financial needs?
DM: In marketing terms, we love F1s unique combination of society and people, speed and thrills, professionalism and high tech, challenge and performance, courage and talent, just to mention a few. Correspondingly important is our F1 involvement within the Red Bull marketing mix.
In financial terms, no doubt F1 needs considerable budgets, but when you look at the worldwide media presence of F1 and add to the GRPs (Gross Rating Points) the qualitative aspects, the investment nevertheless makes a lot of sense - in general and for Red Bull in particular.
Q: It was always clear that it would take time to build the old Jaguar team into a potential winner and you have spent the last two years systematically bringing in key people. What would be your best case scenario for 2007 in terms of results?
DM: We expect a podium here and there, and number five in the constructors championship.
Q: Red Bull has brought a new dimension to Formula One paddock hospitality and evening entertainment. One could say this has compensated for your relatively modest on-track results. Has that strategy met your expectations in terms of exposure?
DM: Definitely. What we have to add now is the sporting success. This is why we upgraded and optimized our total F1 package. We will see if this investment will bring the team to its next level.
Q: It is the first time in Formula history that one company owns or co-owns two of the teams on the grid. The full benefit of this visionary decision may be seen as early as 2008, when customer cars become legal. Was it a too early a move, or will it give you a key advantage over the other junior teams in the making?
DM: You are right that the full benefit will be seen as early as 2008, but we also believe that this early move will pay back by giving us a certain lead over other teams.
Q: Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso have a distinctly different attitude than the other teams. How would you best describe that attitude?
DM: It simply reflects the (Red) Bullish way of looking upon the world, our philosophy and lifestyle and our belief in finding the right balance between work and fun.
Q: And if Red Bull had to choose a theme to illustrate its Formula One dedication, what would it be?
DM: Rule number one: be fast. Rule number two: be faster.