Four years into Red Bull’s reign of dominance in Formula One, and it’s still pretty amazing that an energy drink company, of all things, has come in and created a team capable of beating the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.
Their latest triumph was a thorough one as well, with both team and driver Sebastian Vettel claiming their fourth consecutive championships in the constructors’ and drivers’ categories respectively with three races to go in the 2013 season.
It’s a remarkable achievement to win one championship, but what Red Bull’s done is even more impressive. However, when you’ve continually shown yourselves to be at the top of your game, you can wind up pondering over new challenges to conquer.
So, would Red Bull one day take a look around F1, say ‘we’ve done all we can here’, and move out? For his part, F1 kingpin Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t think so.
In comments to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, the British billionaire cites the drive of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, the bounty that the team’s received thanks to its current run of glory, and the benefits of doing business in F1 as reasons why he’s not counting on an exodus anytime soon.
“Dietrich Mateschitz is so competitive, he loves racing, he likes when his car wins,” Ecclestone explained. “The successes of recent years also mean his team has earned much more than some of the others.
“Not only that, where else is he going to find as good a platform to advertise his brand?”
F1 is a nice platform indeed, but considering Red Bull’s ubiquitous stature in the landscapes of both sports and pop culture, it’s not the only one that the beverage giant has.
Still, you figure Ecclestone’s right to think Red Bull won’t leave F1 any time soon. The group enjoys worldwide exposure every weekend during the season, boasts one of the greatest drivers to ever race in F1 in Vettel, and has even managed to revive the Austrian Grand Prix for this coming season at its Red Bull Ring track.
Nothing lasts forever, of course. But right now, Red Bull’s presence in the sport appears ready to continue for a while.
The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.
For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.
Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.
One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.
Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.
It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.
Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.
Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.
Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.
Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.
Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.
Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.
Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.
Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.
The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.