Achieving miracles in 3.1 seconds – that’s not bull, it’s Red Bull

Dave Hardy
Dave Hardy
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A WORLD champion business passed on some of the secrets of its success at a networking club in Milton Keynes.

Red Bull Technology’s business development manager Steve Nevey, pictured, outlined to 80 local entrepreneurs how the company has come to dominate the Formula One scene.

Red Bull employs 560 people in Tilbrook in the design and testing of the world-beating cars.

Mr Nevey told the Business Growth Club (www.business-growth-club.co.uk) at Abbey Hill Hotel, in Monks Way, that getting the right people in key positions, giving staff clear and realistic objectives and having a winning mentality in a fun-loving atmosphere were important factors.

Mr Nevey said: “We used to let everyone do what they liked to make improvements. Now we assess how much time improvements will save us on the track and focus on improvements that will save us the most time.”

Red Bull employs 180 designers and encourages everyone employed by the company to ask ‘why is it done that way?’ about every aspect of the business.

At the top of the company is team principal Christian Horner, whose industry coup was employing designer Adrian Newey. Mr Nevey said Mr Newey is a ‘genius’ having designed the incredible total of 14 world championship-winning cars.

Red Bull designs and builds all its own racing cars, which was a deliberate decision. Some other companies outsource design but Red Bull likes to control that aspect of its business.

But the company is not averse to forming partnerships to hone its designs. Aerodynamics are tested at a wind tunnel near Bedford while Cranfield’s impact centre tests how cars behave in crash situations.

As far as race performance is concerned, Red Bull examines every scrap of evidence it can get about its competitors to stay one step ahead. And its 20-strong pit crews use strategies worked out on computer software to do their work in 3.1 seconds of controlled teamwork.

“It’s about inspiring people,” said Mr Nevey. “It’s really easy for us in racing cars but I think it’s our duty to enthuse our workforce and keep them informed, even if it is not good news.”

The team’s success rubs off on the energy drink brand owners, too. Mr Nevey said a Red Bull race win can add one million cans to the sales of the famous booster.