Q & A with Christian Horner

Q. What are your feelings after the Turkey race? No win but second and third places and a decent haul of points in the Constructors' Championship?

Q & A with Christian Horner

Christian Horner: To get 14 points is a great team score. But obviously it is frustrating that we were unable to beat Jenson today, who I had to say drove an exceptional race.

Q. Was the chance of win scuppered on the first lap, or do you think the Brawn was just too fast today?

CH: I think it would have been very difficult to beat them anyway today. The best chance that we had was on the three-stop, but it relied on Sebastian being ahead of Jenson. We decided to continue with that strategy because basically we would have conceded the race on lap 15, but even before the race we discussed that strategy would only work if Sebastian got past Jenson on the second stint, which unfortunately we didn't manage to do. That then cost obviously Sebastian a bit of time behind him.

Then there was a tremendous middle stint from Mark, a really impressive middle stint with a heavy car. He did a very impressive job. He was just quicker in the middle stint and that is what flipped them around. Mark, you mustn't take anything away from it because it was an exceptionally good drive.

Q. Sebastian said in the press conference that he was not very happy about the strategy decision. Can you understand his frustration?

CH: He was aware of the strategy before the race, and we discussed the various scenarios - and it was reliant on him passing Jenson. It would still have been good enough to keep him in second place had it not been for the strength of Mark's middle stint, so I think a couple of mistakes obviously cost him dearly today, but let's not forget that it is a great team result.

It was always the plan if we dropped behind at the start, albeit we didn't do that at the start, but if we dropped behind then the best chance of taking any fight to them was on the three-stop but that relied of him passing Jenson in the second stint. Unfortunately he didn't manage to do that, and dropped a bit of time behind him, while Mark drove a phenomenal middle stint.

Q. What was the pre-race simulation suggesting about a two-stop and a three-stop?

CH: Three stop was faster ahead of the final stop, but dropping behind Jenson gave him the free air to exploit the pace that he had. I think even staying ahead of him on the first stint, it would have still been very difficult to beat him today. It would have been much closer but difficult.

Q. Is your car more adversely effected by dirty air?

CH: Difficult to say. I think Jenson just drove a great race today and had very good pace. I think Sebastian from what I heard said the wind caught him out on the first lap, and of course the ambient track temperature was higher than we had seen all weekend. But Jenson was very strong today.

Q. When the track rubbers in and the temperatures go up, it seems to swing more away from you and towards you, and vice versa?

CH: It seems to shift from circuit to circuit. There is no specific trend at the moment, so we know we have got a lot of work to do. It is obviously getting a bit boring with them winning all the races bar one, but we will fight back at Silverstone.

Q. Going into this season a lot of people were saying that this was a make-or-break year for either Mark or Sebastian, yet both appear to be impressing so far. How do you judge their seasons?

CH: They are both bringing the best out of each other. If you look at the race pace today, Mark didn't make a single mistake. It was a very impressive drive from him, so they work well as a team and they are pushing each other to the maximum. I think both have really raised their game, both are at different stages of their career and for the team it is very healthy.

Q. Is it going to be a difficult situation managing those - we saw Vettel's frustrations today and, when he was asked to slow down at the end, he set a purple sector time?

CH: Sebastian - he was very keen to get fastest lap next to his name. He knew in the last five laps that it was impossible to pass Mark. There has been very difficult non-KERS overtaking all afternoon, and because it was their first engine with such a high ambient temperature, we, as Brawn did, just wound the revs down in the last five or six laps.

But the enthusiasm of youth - he wanted to know what the fastest lap was and I think he came within less than a tenth of achieving it. A power slide out of the last turn two laps before the end probably cost him - but he understood clearly what the situation was.

Q. Does some of that exuberance still need to be squeezed out of him?

CH: No, I don't think. He is a young guy, he is learning and people have to learn. They have to go through the different experience. He is doing a great job, he is a great talent and I think he will only get better.

Q. Some people are suggesting that the Red Bull Racing line-up could be perhaps the strongest in the field. What do you say about that?

CH: I think the balance that we have we are very happy with.

Q. What about the championship and going forward from here, as this was viewed as a key race of showing off your high-speed capabilities?

CH: The rate of development is so quick at the moment. The guys at the factory are doing a great job. They have worked tirelessly to get the upgrades to the cars here. We have got another upgrade coming for Silverstone, and other developments on the pipeline. We will keep pushing as hard as we can and Silverstone is a high-speed track, hopefully we can push the Brawns a bit harder there.

Q. Was there a hold-station instruction?

CH: No. Basically in the last five laps we reduced the revs on the engine just to protect the engine. They were well clear of Jarno Trulli, and obviously Jenson was a long way up the road. With both engines in their first race, it didn't make sense to overstress them here with some big races coming up.

Q. The fact that you did hold station here, does that mean you have given up all chance of a championship, because Sebastian was your leading points scorer?

CH: There is a very small points difference between the drivers at the moment. The points difference between the drivers is minimal at the moment. We give both drivers an equal opportunity, but within five laps of the end on both engines it made sense to turn the engine down. That is what we did, as I am sure other teams did.

Q. Given up title hopes?

CH: It is going to be very difficult for us to make up the ground to Brawn, but we have taken four points out of them in the Constructors' Championship today. It is still a big lead but still a long way to go.

Q. We have quite an important week for F1 coming up. What is your feeling heading into that week?

CH: I am just hopeful that a solution can be found. We have a responsibility for the people who work in the sport, for the fans and for everybody involved to try and find a compromise and try and find a solution that doesn't lose any teams and allows new teams to come in, and maintains F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport.

Q. Will the teams sit back and wait for Max to respond, or will there be an effort to try and get him to the table?

CH: I think there is a genuine feeling of wanting to find a solution, and I am just hopeful that common sense will prevail at the end of the day.

Q. Given the various contracts signed by teams in 2005 and 2006, weren't Red Bull under some form of commercial obligation to take part in F1?

CH: I think our major concern is the technical regulations and where they currently sit. The regulations as they currently stand, it is very difficult for us to enter the championship, which is why we have placed a conditional entry.

Q. So that's a yes there was a commercial obligation?

CH: The problem is the Concorde Agreement doesn't truly exist at the moment, so it is important that in the interests of the sport that is concluded as soon as possible - and then 90 per cent of the problems will disappear.

Q. There were some wild rumours circulating the paddock before the race that the FOTA teams were considering a boycott. Can you confirm that such an idea was not discussed by FOTA?

CH: There has never been any discussion [of that]. The only boycott appeared to be the people in the grandstands!

Q. So FOTA are not interested in FOTA action?

CH: No, no, no. We've got a championship to win.

Horner admits gap to Brawn too big
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