Christian Horner has outlined the ultimate motive behind Red Bull’s presence in F1, revealing it is about “passion” and the ultimate marketing platform compared to carmakers Mercedes and Ferrari.
Red Bull was already established as a sponsor in Formula 1 before taking the plunge of forming their own team, arriving on the grid in 2005 with Horner as team principal, a role he has held ever since.
Red Bull have cemented their place as one of the most successful teams in F1 history with six Constructors’ and seven Drivers’ titles, a trophy cabinet looking likely to expand further with Red Bull having re-established their dominance in F1’s ground effect era.
Red Bull in F1 for ‘passion’ and ‘marketing’
When speaking to CNBC, Horner was asked directly why Red Bull are in Formula 1, considering Red Bull GmbH is an energy drinks company, not a car manufacturer like Mercedes or Ferrari.
Red Bull even has two teams, their main team and junior outfit, set to be rebranded away from its current AlphaTauri identity.
Horner explained the spark comes from a “passion” for racing and Formula 1 held by the shareholders, while it is also “the perfect platform to market their brand.”
Asked why Red Bull needs a Formula 1 team, Horner replied: “Well, because I think the shareholders, they’ve always been passionate about racing and Formula 1 and they saw it as the perfect platform to market their brand.
“It’s the most-viewed sport in the world outside of the Olympic Games and the football World Cup. But of course, they only happen every four years. Formula 1 is every two weeks.
“So the global reach that we’re achieving, the followers that we have, it’s the best possible way, not just for Red Bull, but for any partner associated with us to promote their brand.”
Horner was then asked whether Formula 1 is a profitable venture for Red Bull, as he proceeded to stress its efficiency compared to more standard means of advertising.
And with Formula 1 experiencing a popularity boom, a budget cap on team spend in operation and another to cover the power unit manufacturers to potentially arrive for 2026, Horner believes Red Bull’s F1 presence is only going to become more valuable.
“It depends how you view it,” said Horner when pressed on Red Bull’s F1 profitability.
“In terms of the recognition for the brand globally, what that would cost to advertise, absolutely it’s a huge success in the amount that it’s promoting the Red Bull brand.
“And I think as the sponsorship and partnerships and the income improves, and cost caps take effect on both chassis and engine in Formula 1, it becomes a much more sustainable business.
“And we’re seeing the intrinsic value of Formula 1 teams just increase dramatically.”
Red Bull and star driver Max Verstappen will be out for further title glory in F1 2024, as Verstappen looks to match Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull achievement of four World Championships in a row.