Exclusive Q&A - RBRs Christian Horner 22 Mar 2007
Team targeting sustained progress throughout 2007
Red Bulls marketing strategy was working as smoothly as ever in Australia, with their Hollywood-style party in Melbournes docklands. On the track, however, it was a slightly different story. Nevertheless, team principal Christian Horner is optimistic for the future. With all the components to run a successful team finally in place, he believes success is now only a matter of time
Q: It has been a difficult winter of testing and you had a so-so race in Melbourne. What is the state of affairs at Red Bull Racing?
Christian Horner: During the winter we have changed engine supplier, tyre supplier, all electronics systems on the car in addition to a totally new design philosophy led by Adrian Newey, so inevitably we have had a very busy winter. The car has got obvious potential and Marks (Webbers) seventh place in qualifying in Melbourne clearly demonstrated that, although we still have a lot of work to do to realise the cars full potential.
Q: The car clearly has some teething problems. What are the main trouble spots?
CH: Obviously when you introduce as many new partners and components you are going to experience some teething issues. However, the team has worked incredibly hard during the past six months and many of these issues have been or are in the process of being addressed.
Q: It would have been naive to think a brand new car could be a podium aspirant from day one. But you must have expected more
CH: We have never underestimated our opponents whom are mainly manufacturer teams and in many cases have evolved their car over the winter. We have started with a completely clean sheet of paper and I am certain that we will develop and progress during this season.
Q: There have been a few changes to Red Bulls personnel structure lately. Both Dany Bahar, Red Bulls executive for Formula One racing and Anton Stipinovich, head of development, have left. Will that have any influence on competitiveness?
CH: There have been no significant changes in our structure and we firmly believe that we now have the right group of people assembled to realise our ambitions.
Q: With experience being one of the factors necessary to push a struggling car forward, it looks like a wise decision to have signed two more senior drivers
CH: David (Coulthard) and Mark is a very strong driver line-up for us, which brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. David has led the team very well for the past two years and he is now complemented with the arrival of Mark Webber. Their experience will help to develop the car more quickly and there is also a very healthy rivalry between the two.
Q: It is your third year as team principal and it looks to be getting more difficult rather than easier. Is it still your dream job?
CH: Formula One is a competitive business and competing against manufacturer-owned teams as an independent we need to think smarter and more creatively. My motivation is higher than ever as I fully believe we now have all the fundamental ingredients to succeed with one of our strongest attributes being the team spirit that exists and continues to grow.
Q: Red Bull Racing will test in Malaysia next week. Can we expect any improvements or are you washing your hands of the two next flyaway races and concentrating instead on the European events?
CH: We have more new components to test in Malaysia, which will be the first of the single-car multi-team tests, which will hopefully result in extracting more performance from RB3.
Q: Red Bull Racing are currently fighting in the midfield. Has Adrian Newey indicated when you will move further towards the front?
CH: In Melbourne, on pace we were the fifth-best team and with development throughout the season hopefully we will be able to bridge the gap to our rivals ahead. We have a good engine, good drivers and good technical strength and depth. Therefore, I am sure that we will make sustained progress throughout the summer.