Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Exclusive Christian Horner Q&A: Tyres will decide 2013 title 10 May 2013

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 12 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 (L to R): Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal and Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 21 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates his victory with Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer, left, and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal, right.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates his 200th Grand Prix start with Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal and the Red Bull Racing team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circu Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, 19 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 12 April 2013

Championship doubles the past three years and leading the standings once more - surely the post of Red Bull team principal is a dream job? Perhaps so, but Christian Horner is facing his fair share of challenges this season. Relations between his drivers are strained to say the least, the team have been far from happy with Pirelli’s 2013 tyres, and the competition from rival teams is fierce. We caught up with Horner in Barcelona to find out just how happy - or otherwise - he is right now…

Q: Christian, Red Bull lead both championships, but some feel there’s a bit of a cloud hanging over the team. Can you explain?
Christian Horner:
Ha, I haven’t noticed any cloud. So far we’ve had two wins, a second and a third, and a fourth place - we are coming to Europe leading both championships, so where should there be any dark clouds?

Q: On the human side of things?
CH:
Well, people write a lot of things and people have a lot of opinions but the reality is the championship tables don’t lie. The motivation within the team is sky high, as we know that we have a competitive and difficult season ahead of us and to have won two out of four races so far is very promising.

Q: It is no secret that there is friction between your two drivers - so how are you going to manoeuvre the team through these obstacles?
CH:
Frictions have been there over several years now - that is nothing new. Both drivers are competitive and hungry animals who push each other to the limit, but it is a combination that has won three constructors’ championships for us. The rivalry between them is nothing new to the team.

Q: You say that hard rivalry is normal between your two ‘hungry animals’ but it seemed to go beyond that at Sepang. What did Malaysia mean?
CH:
A lot of focus is on the wrong theme. Our whole concern about that race was not letting the drivers race each other as they’ve done so many times before, but was all about the tyres - all about preserving a maximum points score where we’ve worked tremendously hard to get ourselves into this position of achieving 43 points with tyres that were on the limit for us. And all the information we had from earlier in the weekend was that we were very marginal on tyre wear and so the engineering concern that we had was preserving the cars to the end of the race.

Q: But wasn’t Malaysia Mark’s win? When he got out of the car he gave the impression that somebody just had stolen the victory from him…
CH:
We made a call not to stress the tyres and the cars and protect the positions that we’d got ourselves into. There is quite a bit of history between the two drivers and Sebastian’s desire was to win that race.

Q: Was there ever the thought to make another call to switch positions back?
CH:
No, not at all. Again, if you look back to three races prior to that you could argue that it was the other way around. The situation in Silverstone in 2011 was the other way around. So these things happen, as they are both competitive drivers. They will go on racing each other as they have done in the past and our expectations are obviously that they don’t hurt the team by crashing into each other - and they both know that.

Q: In a very tight championship it can happen that you need a little help from your team mate. That very clearly will never be an option again, so with the two of them fighting a third driver might take the trophy…
CH:
The competition is not just between our two drivers. We know that there is very strong competition between Fernando [Alonso], Kimi [Raikkonen], and the two Mercedes drivers, so we are not only looking inwardly at our own two drivers - the main competition is outside the team…

Q: …but when the comes to the crunch and Fernando Alonso is in the same situation, then Felipe Massa pulls over - and the same likely goes for Kimi and Romain Grosjean, or Lewis Hamilton with Nico Rosberg…
CH:
I am not so sure. Maybe this is a question for [Ferrari team principal] Stefano [Domenicali] to answer if Felipe will pull over…

Q: …do you really doubt that? Mark very likely will not…
CH:
In the last four years we have given both our drivers the opportunity to race with equal equipment and it comes down to what they do on the track and inevitably a natural pecking order over the course of the season emerges. Malaysia has been the 13th one-two victory that this driver pairing has seen, which actually means that it is one of the most successful pairings in recent F1 history. Sure, they will not spend Christmas together…

Q: …they probably don’t even talk…
CH:
…they talk professionally about developing the car over a race weekend - and obviously on a Sunday their own interests come to the fore again.

Q: How do you cope with a driver as talented as Mark seeing his championship dreams scattered?
CH:
We give him the same chance as we have done all the previous years and it is down to him what he does on the track - as it has been in the past four years. Don’t forget in 2010 they both were fighting for the championship until the very last race - both with the chance of winning the championship.

Q: Given the situation that has developed, you will quite likely need a new second driver for next year…
CH:
It is much too early thinking about drivers for next year. Sebastian is clear - and everything else will fall into place towards the end of the summer. There is no pre-conception.

Q: How much of a say will Sebastian have on any future team mate?
CH:
He is going to do the best job for himself. And to say, ‘this one, yes’ and, ‘this one, no’ was never Sebastian’s style, to dictate, ‘I must have this or that’. He is a sporting guy and has never pressured the team into doing things for his own benefit.

Q: So where are you looking? At Toro Rosso?
CH:
Our objectives are very simple: we want the best two drivers in our cars. If they come from Toro Rosso, fantastic as they develop nicely. But we always push to have the best two drivers available.

Q: Can you drop names?
CH:
There is no shortage of choice.

Q: But not so many contracts that are running out at the end of the season…
CH:
… we’ve never been short of choice.

Q: Now comes the happy part: It looks like you could do it again and win both titles…
CH:
I hope you are right. It’s a long way to go and there is massive competition.

Q: What are the biggest obstacles?
CH:
They are black and round - and called Pirelli. And whoever masters and understands these tyres best and most consistently will emerge [victorious] at the end of the year.

Q: Pirelli have brought a slightly different compound to Spain. Is that enough for you?
CH:
Well, we’ve managed to win two races out of four on the previous compounds so I think it is not such a huge difference. It was the first look at these compounds here today, so we will see on Sunday.

Q: How will this weekend develop?
CH:
I have given up guessing. I hope we will be competitive, as we have had a strong start into the weekend today, but a lot is still waiting to be done.

Q: Any dream result?
CH:
A one-two - and no aggro!

For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.