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Christian Horner Q&A: Red Bull simply weren’t quick enough 23 Aug 2009

Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB5.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 23 August 2009 (L to R): Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 22 August 2009 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB5.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 23 August 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing with Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal (Left).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 21 August 2009

It was not a glorious weekend for Red Bull. Two engines failures for Sebastian Vettel, leaving him with only two fresh V8s for the six remaining races, and Mark Webber missing a points-scoring position by one place. The only good news for team principal Christian Horner, was that Rubens Barrichello, not standings leader Jenson Button, won the race. But that is pretty cold comfort for a team aiming for both championships...

Q: Christian, was what happened this weekend the worst case scenario?
Christian Horner:
Yes, it doesn’t get much worse than losing another engine and going back home with no points for either driver. It is really disappointing for Sebastian, who had two engine failures over the weekend - the fourth now in total - which makes it quite difficult with the engines for the rest of the year. And Mark basically struggled all weekend to find pace in the car. We simply were not quick enough this weekend.

Q: Regarding Sebastian’s engine failure, do you know what exactly happened?
CH:
Right now we don’t know exactly what happened, but the fact is the failure is terminal.

Q: Four engines failures leaves a lot of questions. You are in the middle of talks about an engine contract for next season. Will you stay with Renault or change supplier? CH: I think it is still a long way to go in this championship and obviously our options are open. But you cannot make a decision based on one weekend, you have to look at the whole season and Renault so far has given us a great service and support. It was really unfortunate to have two engine failures in one weekend.

Q: Was this weekend the end of your championships dreams?
CH:
I don’t think so, if you look at the amount of points that Jenson scored today - he only took another two points. It’s true it doesn’t make it any easier to catch him, but it is far from a disaster.

Q: What will the strategy for Sebastian be now that he has only two new engines left?
CH:
It’s almost inevitable that we will have an engine penalty at some point because yes, we’re running out of engines. We need now to analyze the mileage that we’ve left on the engines that we have and look at which engine we will use at what circuits.

Q: Two engine failures in one weekend is a very unusual occurrence these days…
CH:
It’s obviously an expensive failure.

Q: What happened to Mark? He fell back from seventh to ninth place…
CH:
Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough. Jenson was very quick on his out-lap and we had a slow final stop, again precautionary with the fuel rig that has been somewhat temperamental today. And that cost him ultimately.

Q: Mark and Sebastian scored zero points this weekend. Does that mean that there is still equal treatment of both drivers?
CH:
Absolutely. Rubens is back in the drivers’ championship again so the only positive aspect of this weekend is that Jenson didn’t score too many points. If he had scored a further ten points, the damage would have been significantly greater. We will be back in one week in Spa and hopefully we can have a better weekend there and forget this one very quickly.

Q: So the only good thing that you take home from this weekend is that it was Rubens who won and not Jenson…
CH:
Yes, Jenson is eight points away from a potential maximum score. Adding only two points to his total is less damaging, but yes, we’ve missed a chance to reduce the gap to him. But on the other hand this result today doesn’t help us in the constructors’ championship. If I think it over, there hasn’t been any good news this weekend.

Q: Obviously your hopes for a better result in Spa are based on the fact that the track should suit the RB5 and that the temperatures are not as high there as they have been here…
CH:
Yes, it could be. The weather is always a factor there. It can be a lottery sometimes. The Brawns were very quick today - by the way congratulations to Rubens, he did a fantastic job - but there are hopefully some circuits coming up that will play back to our strengths.

Q: There have been rumours that you might run KERS in Spa. Is that under consideration?
CH:
Ha, we might use KERS but have no engines left, because that’s the only thing we have! Sure, we are looking at KERS on a race-by-race basis but I would say that it is unlikely.