Q & A with Christian Horner

Christian Horner and the Red Bull Racing team crowned their spectacular year when they collected the constructors' championship trophy at the FIA's Prize Gala in Monaco last Friday night, with Sebastian Vettel receiving the drivers' spoils at the same time

Q & A with Christian Horner

Afterwards Horner spoke to AUTOSPORT about his thoughts on the year just gone and post-season developments like the FIA's team orders decision and Mark Webber's injury revelation.

Q. You collected your constructors' championship trophy at the FIA Prize Gala in Monaco last weekend. What does it mean to you to see Red Bull Racing's name on the award above teams like Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Williams?

Christian Horner: It is a very proud moment on behalf of all of the team, and Red Bull, to collect this trophy. It symbolises a huge amount of effort that has gone in from all the team members. It is a big moment for Red Bull and Mr [Dietrich] Mateschitz who, without which, none of this would have been possible. So, it is a very proud moment.

Q. Does the success you achieved this year finally sink in a bit after collecting an award like this?

CH: This is the culmination of an incredibly hard year. The ultimate winner has been Formula 1 out of this year. It has been a tremendous season, and to have collected the two biggest trophies with Sebastian as the youngest ever world champion is fantastic. It is the realisation of a lot of hard work, dedication, and human sacrifices from team members - without which none of this would have been possible.

Q. How has the post-season been for you? Sebastian Vettel is obviously keen for a bit of downtime after so many promotional appearances.

CH: It has been busy, but it's been good. The important thing is to enjoy the moment but not lose focus on the challenge ahead and that has been the balance. We had a great end of season party where the whole team went down to London, which was a great celebration. Motivation is obviously sky high, but nobody underestimates the 90 days that remain between here and the first race.

Q. Are you finally able to relax a bit now about the stress points of the season - because you faced some difficult days around Turkey and Silverstone?

CH: Over the course of the season our guys were the stand-out drivers. Sebastian, despite the bad luck early on, he never lost his focus and he kept his head down. And he did his job on the circuit. Mark can look back on a tremendous year. He took the championship fight to the last race and they both obviously made a huge contribution to this constructors' trophy.

It was a phenomenal year and rightly or wrongly, we allowed them to race. When you have two competitive guys going for the biggest prize in the sport, inevitably sometimes it gets a bit close - and sometimes a bit too close between the two of them. But, ultimately it was the right thing to do.

Q. Any regrets about how you handled things?

CH: It is Formula 1. It is a sport. You can always learn, and whether that is as a team or whether it is as drivers, you are always learning. We have not been here that long, but we have come an awfully long way in a very short space of time and the challenge obviously now is to build on the success and go into the next year as the reigning world champions. It will be a very special feeling to turn up in Bahrain with number one on the car and be at the top of the pitlane.

Q. What difference will that make being champions - because Seb told me last week that you came into the season as a team with no champions but as a championship-winning team. Now, you are a team of champions and you now need to be a championship-winning team again...

CH: I think the way the team has evolved, particularly in the last two years, has been phenomenal. The team has just got stronger and stronger, and the sense of team work and spirit within the team is phenomenal. Motivation is obviously very high.

We don't underestimate our opponents. Ferrari and McLaren are massive teams with huge heritages and they will not be sleeping this winter. But the enormity of what we have achieved as an independent private team is something quite special, and fairly unique. So it is important to enjoy the moment, but the focus is already firmly on 2011.

Q. Beyond the double diffuser era in the first half of 2009, you've been pretty dominant for two seasons now. Does that count for anything going into next year?

CH: I think Red Bull has won the most races in the last three years out of any team. We had a good season in 2009, and the only trophies we didn't have were the two we collected in Monaco. Nine victories, 20 podiums, 15 poles - it was an awesome season. And we did our best to make it interesting!

Q. The team orders rule has changed for next season in the wake of what Ferrari did at the German Grand Prix. Does that change anything for you?

CH: I don't think it changes anything for us. We will go into next year giving both drivers the same support as we always have. The important thing for us is that it is what they do on the track. We gave both drivers the very best we could this year and that is the way we will go into next year.

Q. And how is your relationship with Mark Webber? The shoulder injury news emerged last week and you said you were disappointed you were not told.

CH: Fine. Mark and I have known each other for a long time and it is important for him to take some time out this winter and come back stronger - and heal fully. I am sure he will come back even stronger in 2011.

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