RB boss explains logic behind ‘bit of a mouthful’ team name

Thomas Maher
Daniel Ricciardo testing for RB in Bahrain.

RB's Daniel Ricciardo on track.

RB CEO Peter Bayer has explained why the decision was taken not to race as Racing Bulls as the team name.

The former AlphaTauri squad has been renamed for 2024, with the second Red Bull team rebranded as ‘Visa Cash App RB’ – a sponsor-led identity that offered few clues as to the name of the team itself.

With the company name in Italy refreshed as ‘Racing Bulls’, the logical conclusion was that the ‘RB’ stood for this, but the official line is that RB is the official team name – a name lacking in clear identity or ease of use.

Peter Bayer praises shareholders in RB team for rebrand

While owned by Red Bull, the Faenza-based squad is an entirely separate operation from the Red Bull Racing squad.

While closely aligned, RB has to, by and large, fend for itself on the commercial front, and Peter Bayer, who took over as CEO of the team last year, has talked through how the rebranding process played out over a confusing and hectic winter off-season.

“We take some responsibility because we’ve been late with a lot of stuff and it was a massive effort in getting everything signed and getting everything ready,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com, on Friday in Bahrain.

“I’m talking about team kit and sponsorship agreements, and all the bits and pieces that come with it.

“So I think we’ve learned some lessons – definitely on the communication aspect of the launch, for example – I think we could have done better and we’ll happily take that up.

“In terms of the team rebranding, I think that was a complex exercise [with] many stakeholders but, ultimately, we were actually very happy because we had the amazing problem of having Visa, Cash App, and Red Bull supporting us and saying ‘We want to take this team to the next level’.

“So they’ve been joining us on this journey. That’s also partly the reason for the name, which is a bit of a mouthful but, at the same time, it’s the reality. It’s Visa, it’s Cash App, and it’s Red Bull supporting us as Racing Bulls as the company in Italy.”

With the chassis name assuming the sponsor identities as well, christened the VCARB01, Bayer said there has been little resistance from team fans to adopting the new full team name – sponsors and all.

“What we’ve seen with fans is that, yes, there was confusion, but they quickly picked it up, really,” he said.

“We see a lot of people actually, especially on the younger side, calling us Visa Cash App RB, and it comes out quite easily.

“There is VCARB outside, and there is our company name, which is Racing Bulls.

“The Racing Bulls name is actually part of the Red Bull philosophy, they have Flying Bulls [Aerobatics Team] where Mr. Mateschitz had his planes.

“That seems to be like the logical consequence. Racing Bulls is our company name in Italy. We’d been discussing the different options and we just felt that it’s a bit of a mouthful – Visa Cash App Racing Bulls Formula 1 team – you’ll be tired at the end of writing the article!

“So that was really where the idea came from to abbreviate the Racing Bulls into ‘RB’, and to put that as a chassis name that simply remains as a sort of historic element that we want to carry forward.”

Peter Bayer: Ultimately, RB needs sponsors to make this work

The RB team isn’t alone in causing confusion by being willing to trade off their team identity for the appeasement of sponsors, with the Sauber team being renamed as ‘Stake’ or ‘Kick’ after the signing of the crypto sponsor for 2025.

Bayer candidly said that the alignment with a team’s sponsor is an understandable controversy, but such decisions are necessary to make in order to raise the funding necessary to go racing.

“We are realistic enough that we cannot expect the media to continuously say ‘Visa Cash App RB’ but, in the end, one way of opening ourselves as a team is to try and get these partners on board,” he admitted.

“Especially when they see the car on track, when they see delivery, when they see the exposure, that it all is creating a package.

“Ultimately, we need sponsors to make this work – it’s a reality. We get support from the shareholders, we get money from Formula 1, but it’s not enough to hit the cap, and, ultimately, the cap is defined in competition.

“So how to close that gap? We have to sell our inventory. We don’t think it’s a bad thing. I know it’s controversial because it’s obviously easier to be Ferrari than RB, but, mid-term, we believe that the RB Racing Bull element is strong enough to cope with strong commercial partner integration. ”

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