Q & A with Christian Horner

Red Bull Racing's world championship hopes took a dent in Korea, but its drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber outqualified points leader Fernando Alonso in Brazil

Q & A with Christian Horner

However the continuing fall-out from Webber's suggestion that Vettel had the 'emotional backing' of the team was one of the main topics when RBR boss Christian Horner met the media after qualifying at Interlagos.

Q. Last year in poor weather we saw with Sebastian Vettel how there is ample opportunity to get it wrong. So are you pleased with second and third on the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix?

Christian Horner: I am very satisfied with qualifying, because there was all the opportunity for it to go very wrong. We navigated our way through the two sessions without any problems at all, and into Q3 with a very difficult call with the crossover. And particularly in our position, when you know you have a quick car, you know you have everything to lose and nothing to gain. So ultimately to come out of qualifying with P2 and P3, with our main opponents behind us, is a very, very good team result.

Q. Pace wise it has been quite an encouraging weekend hasn't it?

CH: In the dry we have been competitive all weekend. So it bodes well for a dry race. Nico Hulkenberg did a great job in qualifying, and congratulations to him and Williams, and it will be interesting to see what his pace is like in the dry. On dry form he is out of position.

Q. How much of a worry is it for you gunning for a championship when you have a wild card like that at the front of the grid?

CH: It is the same for all of them, isn't it? The start will be important and then the strategy for both of our guys is head down and then try and make sure we are ahead of our opponents.

Q. What will be the message for your two guys, as they are fighting for a championship so cannot afford to get tangled up with him?

CH: They are just going to have to deal with it as best as they can. But it is the same for Lewis [Hamilton] and the same for Fernando [Alonso]. So it is not a unique challenge for our guys.

Q. How has this weekend been for you to manage, as there was a lot of controversy about Mark Webber's comments and headlines talking about 'civil war' inside Red Bull Racing?

CH: There are a few things that were said on Thursday that were unfortunate. But, there is so much at stake for both of the drivers that it is understandable that emotions were sometimes running high. The most important thing is to do your talking on the track and that is what we are determined to do this weekend.

Q. Do you see some similarities between the situation you found this weekend and what happened at Silverstone?

CH: It was a little bit leftfield. But Mark is a great competitor and he sometimes feeds off controversy. The most important thing as a team is that we have not managed to get into the position we are by working as a bunch of individuals. We work as a team - which means we win as a team and lose as a team - and Mark has been an important part of that. He has been part of the team for four years now, and this is Red Bull's sixth season in F1 now.

So, he knows the kind of support that he has had and enjoyed from not just the team but from Austria, and from Dietrich Mateshitz, during the last four years. So I am sure he will deliver in the next two races.

I have every confidence in both him and Sebastian that they will deliver. It is very important for us with the constructors' situation. We have got ourselves into a good position if we have a good result here, and both of them are still contenders in the drivers' championship going into the race.

Q. How important is it for you to deal with the off-track tensions so they don't boil over into the garage and out onto the circuit?

CH: The unfortunate thing with anything like this is that no matter what the intent of a throwaway line or a comment, it is always the question of how it can be perceived. There is a tremendous team spirit within this team that spreads way beyond what you see trackside.

Of course it is disappointing for every team member when they see negative things written about what they perceive to be their team, even if it may not be focused directly at them. I think the team recognises that we have got two great drivers, we have two competitive drivers, and we have done our best to give them all the support we can. It has not been inconvenient either one of them being quick and it is a headache that I am sure a lot of teams would be quite envious of having up and down the pit lane.

Q. But is it a headache you are willing to take on again for next year and the future? Won't the frustrations Mark feels this year still be there in 2011?

CH: I think first of all we have to clearly understand what those frustrations are, because it is not at all evident to us. The support that Mark has had, not just this year but for the four years he has been with the team - I cannot believe that there have been any better supported drivers in the pit lane than our drivers. It is even down to the most simple of things like the amount of media days, sponsor days and everything else they have to do. They both have absolutely awesome support from the whole of the group.

Q. Is your commitment for Mark for next year, and Dietrich's comment too, as strong today as it was before this weekend?

CH: Absolutely. Absolutely. Without a shadow of a doubt. Mark is driving in the form of his career. We have provided him with a great car. Before he joined the team he had one podium to his name, and now he is a multiple grand prix winner and a world championship contender. I cannot believe that he would be better off anywhere in the pit lane, so I very much hope he will finish his career with Red Bull.

Q. Do you have a sense that he is thinking about what he wants to do for next year?

CH: No. I think he is totally focused on here. Mark, as we all know over the years, can be a bit outspoken and sometimes he shoots from the hip. Unfortunately Thursday was one of those occasions but if that motivates him to achieve then great. The last time he did it he produced a very dominant performance at Silverstone, so let's see what he can do here.

shares
comments
Stewart: Hulkenberg future not in doubt
Previous article

Stewart: Hulkenberg future not in doubt

Next article

RBR keen to know Webber's frustrations

RBR keen to know Webber's frustrations
Load comments
Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Plus

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Plus

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. OLEG KARPOV asks if any of these goals are achievable…

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2021
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021