Time is a teacher; of course, the past is important as we learn from our experiences, grow as individuals and collectives, and take positives and negatives with us in our memories.
The past is important, but more so are the present and the future – what do the latter hold for Red Bull Racing?
In Formula One there is no finished product, whether it is the machine or the driver. As those behind the wheel constantly learn, adapt and perfect their craft, the car is also continuously evolving – in effect, it is a constant prototype for future incarnations.
Indeed it is believed that a car undergoes as many as 1,000 design changes each week, forming a complex development cycle before, during and after the season.
While it is necessary to develop the car at every opportunity, there has been a question mark over the team’s policy with their drivers. They have unofficially always seemed to take a hierarchical approach with number 1 and 2 drivers (famously, it seems, with Vettel and Webber) – is now the time for change?
Max Verstappen proved an immediate hit, winning on debut in Spain having stepped up from Toro Rosso. Since then he has proved consistent, exciting, very quick and able to get positive results – there is no doubting his status as the fixture in the team.
However at Red Bull particularly, it seems time is as crucial as results are – since 2016 the team has dispensed with Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon with only the latter lasting a season.
It’s a tricky balancing act; with big investment comes pressure to succeed – Results and time go hand in hand, without one you can’t achieve the other. It work both ways – unless you arrive as Verstappen did, drivers need time to get results… they will also need results to buy them time.
Sergio Perez is now in the hot seat next to Verstappen on an initial 1 year contract and is expected to challenge, but will it last more than a year if results aren’t as desired?
There is a pool of young drivers in the Red Bull Academy and Junior Teams that are aiming at the F1 team, does bringing in an “outsider” in Perez (although a popular one) put a spanner in the Red Bull production machine?
Again, it is the principle of time, the present versus the future; both are unpredictable – there are two approaches: Change your methods as Red Bull has done, bringing in Perez, or use the system that is already in place.
In Red Bull’s case, if they revert back to the “faith in youth” method it may be that they need to put time before results in order for those charged with getting results to feel supported in that quest.
Class and quality are permanent and can be controlled – time is permanent but is not for the taming. All we can do is manage it, use it as we see fit, and in these difficult times look to the short-term future at what 2021 has in store for us.