I must come out of the closet. I am a huge Red Bull Racing fan.
It has nothing to do with the parties, the style, or the color scheme. I am not enthralled by their stunts or publicity, I do not care that they are a bandwagon team or that they only win because they cheat.
I care because they win.
The win the most.
Red Bull Racing is not a 100 year old automotive company, and they are not a F1 team that has been built on the backs of thousands with their legacies draped over their heads. They are a team with a goal, and they work the hardest to achieve that goal. This video, released by Red Bull themselves, is a thin attempt to gain the public endearment and respect that they have never really commanded because of this.
This video was intended to create this endearing camaraderie between fans, but after recent events in Malaysia, it is now an eerie chronicling to the rise of three time consecutive world champion, age 25, Sebastian Vettel, and the bitter relationship he has created with his teammate, Mark Webber. There is a stark difference between the humble beginning of the video and its glorified latter half.
Yet, I still love them.
I repeat, it is about the winning. Its not that I want to be a fan of a team that wins, but its that within Sebastian Vettel I can see someone something primeval. He doesn't care about the fairness and safety of other drivers, ultimately. He doesn't hate them, he is just indifferent. It is the job of the rules and the regulators to make sure the other drivers are safe. It is his job to win. His winning is a legacy. I don't see a happy boyish champion in him, I see something older.
Racing is not just about sportsmanship. Racing is about the experience of thrill, and the creation of some meaningful experience from that. Sportsmanship, rules, organization is the framework by which a skilled driver can do that. We, as fans, use F1 to put us on the edge of our seats and experience something powerful. Drivers create that power.
I see an old, terrified survival instinct within Sebastian. When his next championship, a chance to enter into history as the greatest driver of all time, is being threatened by a technicality of rules or a team, he did not lay down. It was a fight or flight response. You can debate which is the better driver, but the point stands, Sebastian Vettel won. He won because Mark Webber bowed his head to his team in respect. Sebastian Vettel refused to do that. Sebastian refused to risk the creation of something special and unique on a technicality.
Adrian Newey is of the same temperament. It is victory, or death. For these two, whether it is designing or driving a car, if they cannot get the best, they have failed. Mark Webber is not going to win four championships before retiring.
If they were not skilled at what they do, then it would be a different story. But Adrian Newey is far and away a genius of a designer, between his ideas for brake ducting and the use of blown exhaust gases, he has had relatively consistent renovation and adaptation, faster than any other team. When Sebastian's won the 2011 season by a 122 point margin, more points than any of the sub-5-position drivers obtained, I think I was hooked. I was watching something special. It was a single team, young, a single driver, young, doing something unthinkable and winning.
What is racing, without that sort of emotion? I remember seeing, in the Austin Grand Prix last year, watching Lewis Hamilton's dash cam, wondering what he was thinking, before I realize he was pulling the sneakiest possible use of DRS and KERS to execute the perfect pass. It was a harmony of physics, strategy, and control. That is the type of moments that F1 can create, and Red Bull does that.
I hate their drinks.
But I want to see this team do something great. If someone can stop them, even better, but they better have the same win-or-die instinct.