What’s wrong with Krating Daeng?

There’s something strange about Red Bull Racing. No, it’s not the name. It isn’t even the lap times. It’s the image. While the brand is all about youthful vigour and dare devilry, the grand prix team is all stiff upper lip. And the drivers are not even young. In fact, RBR has the oldest driver pairing on the current Formula 1 grid – David Coulthard (36) and Mark Webber (30). Of course, youth has nothing to do with age, but what about youthfulness?

Of course, Red Bull throws tantalizing after-race parties; show off their multi-million dollar motorhome, distribute the irreverent Red Bulletin in the paddock, parade long-legged beauties wherever possible. But the world at large watches RBR on TV; which means, we don’t get to see the glitz and glamour. Instead what we see is Mark Webber trying hard to unlap himself and DC delivering sterile PR talk, which he had mastered during his years at Mc Laren (global headquarters for puppet-talk).

World over (of course Great Britain is always an exception), not many F1 fans care what David Coulthard does. With all due respect to his new stubble, DC is still too propah to represent the Red Bull stable. The same goes for Mark Webber. Apart from a couple of banzai laps during his Jaguar days, he’s hardly done anything to write home about. The two aren’t fashionable. They aren’t adventurous. They aren’t winners. They aren’t newsmakers. Hell, they aren’t even troublemakers.

So, what on Earth makes them the chosen ones for Red Bull Racing? Common wisdom might suggest that being F1 is not about building brands, but about winning races. The hiring of Adrian Newey, the winningest engineer, surely proves that RBR wants to win. Perfect. But a combination of DC and Mark Webber still doesn’t make sense. But who else could’ve been there? Let’s look back to 2004 and see, which drivers had both – youthful vigour & racing skills.

Jenson Button was busy extricating himself out of Williamsgate and was more than happy to take BAR to second in the constructor’s championship. Fernando Alonso was locked in at Renault. Jarno Trulli of Renault would’ve been perfect. However, he had won at Monaco and was proving better than Alonso. So, no one would’ve dreamt that he’d be kicked out by season end. Juan Pablo Montoya, with his Latin vigour and equally exciting on-track record would also have been perfect. But McLaren had already snapped him up. The rest were either high on youthful vigour and low on track record, or simply old but superb, or both. The only exception was Kimi Raikkonen, who was both young and quick, but not youthful.

So, when you do the math you’ll realize that the problem really lies with Formula 1 itself. Of the 28 drivers who had raced in the 2004 season, only 4 had what it takes to be an ideal Red Bull driver. How could Herr Mateschitz miss this? For a traveling salesman who turned an innocuous brown drink into the world’s largest energy drink brand, Dietrich could’ve done better. Oh by the way, Krating Daeng was a cheap tonic sold in brown bottles in Thailand. These days, it’s known to give you wiiings!!!


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