Red Bull prof­its soar af­ter Vet­tel left

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

PROF­ITS at Red Bull’s cham­pi­onship-win­ning For­mula One team ac­cel­er­ated 26% to £11.4m (RM60m) last year when its costs re­versed af­ter its star driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel (pix) de­fected to Fer­rari.

Vet­tel won four con­sec­u­tive cham­pi­onships for Red Bull Rac­ing but left for Fer­rari af­ter the team’s win­ning streak came to an end in 2014 when F1 switched from 2.4 litre V8 en­gines to 1.6 litre V6 hy­brids. Vet­tel was paid an es­ti­mated £13m (RM68.2m) an­nu­ally and his exit fu­elled a sharp de­crease in the team’s costs which in turn boosted its prof­its.

Re­cently-filed ac­counts for Red Bull Tech­nol­ogy, the com­pany which owns the team, show that its costs in 2015 fell by 11.3%. They came to £225.5m on rev­enue of £235.6m which pri­mar­ily comes from three sources: prize money, spon­sor­ship and pay­ments from its par­ent, the en­ergy drinks com­pany Red Bull.

In 2015 the team fin­ished fourth in the stand­ings, two places down from the pre­vi­ous year, but this wasn’t driven by the loss of Vet­tel, it was be­cause its en­gine man­u­fac­turer Re­nault was still get­ting to grips with the new V6.

Dur­ing 2015 Red Bull re­peat­edly threat­ened to drop Re­nault and pull out of F1 if its per­for­mance didn’t pick up. It re­port­edly signed a deal to switch to VW en­gines from this year but that bit the dust when the Ger­man man­u­fac­turer be­came em­broiled in an emis­sions scan­dal.

In­stead, Red Bull re­mained with Re­nault and boosted its re­search and devel­op­ment spend­ing by £17.5m to hit a to­tal of £98.3m in a bid to im­prove its chas­sis and re­turn to its win­ning ways this year.

The team also added 36 staff, mostly in the de­sign, rac­ing and pro­duc­tion depart­ments, giv­ing it a to­tal of 730 who were paid a com- bined £70m. It paid off.

Red Bull lies in sec­ond place go­ing into the penul­ti­mate race of the sea­son in Brazil next week­end and it is the only team, other than cham­pi­ons Mercedes, which has won races this year. In con­trast, Fer­rari lies in third place and Vet­tel’s ir­ri­ta­tion has be­come in­creas­ingly pub­lic.

At last week­end’s Mex­i­can Grand Prix he launched into a tirade of ex­ple­tives in the clos­ing stages of the race when he was blocked by Max Ver­stap­pen, the 19 year-old who ul­ti­mately re­placed him at Red Bull Rac­ing.

Ver­stap­pen fin­ished in third place but was de­moted to fourth due to his ac­tions. How­ever, in an ironic twist, Vet­tel him­self was stripped of his podium po­si­tion and moved to fifth place for block­ing Ver­stap­pen’s team­mate Daniel Ric­cia­rdo in the fi­nal laps.

Like last year, Red Bull has been de­vel­op­ing its 2017 car through­out this sea­son and is fu­elled with more in­vest­ment af­ter sign­ing new part­ners watch maker TAG Heuer and As­ton Martin. It can also count on a boost in its prize money due to its im­proved per­for­mance.

The higher the team’s rev­enue is and the lower its costs are, the less needs to be poured in by Red Bull. In turn, the more self-suf­fi­cient the team be­comes which thereby se­cures its fu­ture. Last year Red Bull’s in­vest­ment in it re­versed by £15.6m to £44.9m putting it on a track to­wards in­de­pen­dence. – The In­de­pen­dent £1 = RM5.25

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