Exclusive - RBR's Christian Horner 13 Feb 2006
Red Bulls purchase of the ailing Jaguar team back in 2004 proved to be a very good move - not only for the Austrian energy drinks giant, but also for Formula One racing and its fans.
Fourteen months on, Red Bull Racing (RBR) have not only proved themselves on the track, they have also shaken up the paddocks social scene, welcoming all-comers into their Energy Station motorhome, venue for many a legendary party.
None of this would have been possible without the accumulation of gifted people who share the same vision as Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz - people like RBRs team principal Christian Horner.
Q: RBR were the social climbers of 2005, despite it being a difficult transitional year for the team. What can be expected in a more settled 2006?
Christian Horner: During 2005 we strengthened the team considerably, recruiting key staff such as Mark Smith, Anton Stipinovich and, at the end of the year, Adrian Newey. 2006 will be a further building year based upon the achievements from 2005 and our target is to obviously move forward from our current seventh place in the constructors championship.
Q: After one season as RBR team principal, do you feel the Red Bull management let you do your own thing in running the team?
CH: Red Bull have been extremely supportive since the day I joined and have invested in the team heavily during the past 12 months. Red Bulls commitment to Formula One is obviously huge especially with the recent purchase of Minardi.
Q: RBR is based in England, but Austrian owned. Are there any cultural differences between the English way of doing things and that of Mr Mateschitz?
CH: The Red Bull way of doing things is very different to any other team in Formula One. People really enjoy working for Red Bull Racing which is one of the reasons we have attracted some extremely talented individuals to join the team. Red Bulls impact in Formula One, I believe, has been very positive both on and off track.
Q: It was a surprise when Adrian Newey moved to RBR. What do you expect from him - and in what time frame?
CH: Adrian started work with the team in January, therefore it was too late for him to have any input in the design of RB2, however he will be very much involved in the development of the car and will shortly focus on RB3, utilizing the new Bedford Wind Tunnel which has recently become fully operational.
Q: RBR and Toro Rosso can be seen as two teams under one roof - at least in terms of parent company and their shared pool of driver talent. How will the co-operation work - and how far can that co-operation go?
CH: Both teams have the same parent and will compliment one another, however on a Sunday afternoon, they will very much be competing against each other. The Energy Station proved to be the focal point of the paddock last season and Im sure will quite easily accommodate the two teams.
Q: RBR clearly has the ambition to grow into a winning team. How does your Ferrari customer engine fit into this plan? And what are your future engine options?
CH: We are very happy with Ferrari as our engine partner. They have done an excellent job with the V8 and have a tremendous history for producing competitive engines. For the foreseeable future we are extremely happy with the relationship.
Q: Money did not seem a big issue for RBR last season. Will it remain that way or has the everyday expense of life in Formula One caught up with the team? How intense are your efforts to find sponsors?
CH: Every team has budgets to work to and Red Bull Racing is no different. The team is well resourced for the 2006 season and at present there are no immediate plans to introduce sponsors. That said however, if a suitable sponsor who fitted our brand and philosophy was to show an interest then wed certainly be open to discussions.