Ben Gordon-Smith

Red Bull F1

Making the Hot 100 is not the only accolade that Ben Gordon-Smith has taken home in the past few months. The group general counsel at Red Bull Racing and Technology also celebrated Red Bull’s double victory in Formula One’s drivers and constructor championships in 2023.

And while you might think that an F1 championship is down to the drivers and engineers, lawyers now play an even more pivotal role after hugely significant cost cap regulations were introduced in 2021. “If you want to go to the loo, you have to think about cost cap,” he says.

Indeed, Gordon-Smith was invited onto the podium for a champagne celebration with winning driver Max Verstappen at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2022. His team has effectively doubled to 10 in the past year, a reflection of both how legally complex F1 has become, and how large Red Bull racing is becoming. Gordon-Smith’s role is not limited to the F1 team. He also oversees several other departments including Red Bull Advanced Technologies.

After starting in private practice at Hammonds, Gordon-Smith took several in-house roles including at golfing organisation the Ladies European Tour, before being headhunted for Red Bull in 2016. He believes his role requires just as much commercial nous as legal insight. His last few years has seen him negotiating Red Bull’s strategic partnership with Ford, a $300m sponsorship deal with Oracle, and handling the team’s “minor” breach of cost cap rules.