Q & A with Christian Horner

Mark Webber has now won the last two grands prix, moved into the joint lead of the world championship with Sebastian Vettel and has had the better of his team-mate in the last two races after a shaky start to the 2010 season

Q & A with Christian Horner

His Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner now has both of his drivers at the top of the standings after reliability issues hampered the team in the early part of the season.

Following Webber's dominant display on the streets of Monte Carlo, Horner spoke to AUTOSPORT about Webber's winning streak, the Australian's future at the team and the continued development of the RB6.

Q. There were jubilant scenes after the Monaco Grand Prix as the team celebrated at the swimming pool and harbour. How important was this result in terms of the championship and winning on a track that was going to expose any weaknesses in your car?

Christian Horner: At the beginning of the year, Monaco was one of the races that we particularly targeted and wanted to do well at. This is arguably the biggest race on the calendar, and not only to win it but to finish first and second is a very proud moment for everybody in Red Bull Racing. It was a great team performance.

Q. It was the kind of performance that has been bubbling under the surface all season, isn't it?

CH: We had a great weekend in Malaysia, with Sebastian [Vettel's] dominant win there. In China we were unlucky with the weather. In Spain Mark did a great job and we were unfortunate with Seb, but the performance was strong. At a track where we have never performed particularly competitively at, to come here and have the pace that we did, was really satisfying. I think it is testimony to the way the team is operating and working collectively at the moment to deliver this kind of result.

Q. What does it change for you now that you are leading both championships?

CH: Our focus won't change. We will keep pushing. It is very dangerous in this business to underestimate your rivals. McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes are great teams and have great pedigrees and histories, and it would be foolish to underestimate their rate of development and progress.

We are a small team in comparison, so we need to keep focusing on what we are doing, keep our heads down and try and deliver the kind of performances we have delivered over the last couple of weekends - and the championships will take care of themselves.

Q. We have seen the car is quick on fast tracks, slow tracks, high-speed corners, low-speed corners. It has no vices does it?

CH: I think the car has evolved obviously since RB5, over the winter and then the developments that have come on subsequent to that. Adrian, together with Peter Prodromou and Rob Marshall, plus their respective groups, they have done a brilliant job in getting performance to the car. Developing the concept we have and delivering the kind of on-track performance we have seen these last two weekends.

Q. Have Mark Webber's performances in the last two weekends been a bit of a surprise?

CH: I said to his partner, whatever he is eating for breakfast at the moment I would like to have some of it, because it is obviously working! He has hit a purple streak and he has probably had the best 10 days of his life. He is very confident in the car, he is very happy with set-up and so on, and his confidence is sky high at the moment.

He came into the weekend after a very strong Barcelona and he has carried it through, but we've seen that kind of performance from Sebastian in the first four races. We are very fortunate to be in that position with two very strong drivers.

Q. Do you think Mark's performances in Australia and Malaysia, where he had some wobbles, led to some soul searching?

CH: I don't think so. Mark is a very motivated guy anyway. Things have just started to settle down. Australia was not a typical race. His confidence is sky high and he is driving supremely at the moment.

Q. But will Sebastian be able to pull it back together?

CH: Absolutely. I have no doubt about that whatsoever. Sebastian is a phenomenal talent and he has been slightly overshadowed by Mark over the last couple of races, but believe me, he will be very strong in the races coming up.

Q. What do Mark Webber's performances over the last two weekends do to his contract situation for next year?

CH: They don't do anything. We are very happy with the way that Mark is performing. He is an important member of our team and he has got to a stage where, at 33 years of age, we said let's take one year at a time - rather than signing some long-winded agreement.

It is all down to relationships and how he feels at the end of the day. He is driving fantastically well, he is a very valued member of the team, so when the time comes to sit down and talk about contracts I am sure it will be a very short conversation.

Q. Does it make sense to get it settled and out of the way before the big pressure of the title fight?

CH: Inevitably, over the last couple of years it has been around the end of May and beginning of June that we begin to talk about things, but with Mark, like all things, it is pretty straight forward.

Q. Surely it's a no-brainer to keep him?

CH: That is an Austrian term. I am very happy with the balance and dynamics in team, and there is nothing that we would change for.

Q. Is your F-duct coming for Turkey?

CH: We are aiming to have a look at it over the next couple of races. It will only be added to the car once it has earned its position on the car - so we will have a look at it in Turkey and see where it goes.

We made a decision prior to Barcelona that we would focus on the update rather than the F-duct because it does consume resources, and when you have a finite amount of resource in a team of our size, you do have to pick and choose what you want to focus on. We decided that in terms of priority we would get the Barcelona upgrade and then the next step would be the F-duct - and that is the way around we have tried to introduce it.

shares
comments
Victories set to secure Webber's future

Previous article

Victories set to secure Webber's future

Next article

Tyre choice between Pirelli and Michelin

Tyre choice between Pirelli and Michelin
Load comments
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021