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Horner: Red Bull can maintain championship-winning momentum
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Dec 2012   |  3:33 pm GMT  |  44 comments

Christian Horner is convinced there is still scope for Red Bull to “grow and evolve” as a team into 2013 and beyond in its bid to maintain the momentum built up over the last three years.

The Milton Keynes outfit became only the fourth outfit in history, after McLaren, Williams and Ferrari, to win three or more consecutive constructors’ championships this year but precedents of teams winning four in a row are even rarer, with only McLaren (1988-1991) and Ferrari (1999-2004) having achieved the feat.

While getting to the top in F1 is notoriously tough, staying there over a prolonged period is historically even tougher, and McLaren and Williams in particular endured a number of years in the doldrums when their most successful respective eras ended.

Speaking in an interview which forms part of the new season review edition of the JA on F1 podcast, RBR’s team principal Horner is however not concerned that some complacency might begin to creep in.

“Motivation has never been a problem. Our guys, trackside, if you’re there on a Thursday or a Friday night, they’re always the last to leave,” he said.

“They’re the first there in the morning and the last there in the evening. The amount of hours and work that has gone in, not only trackside but in Milton Keynes, the sacrifices that have been made, the family time that has been given up, is just massive. That’s because of the spirit and desire that exists within the team and the desire to keep those trophies in Milton Keynes.”

But asked how he expected the team to maintain that level of motivation in view of the gruelling hours put in, Horner replied: “That’s now the challenge. We’ve been trying to keep it going since 2010 and I think, arguably, this has been our best championship because it’s been our hardest.

“It’s only our eighth season in Formula 1. The team has grown and continued to evolve and I’m sure we can continue to evolve in the future.”

While the foundation of Red Bull’s run over success since 2010 has been consistently strong operational and consistency levels, rival McLaren’s challenge this year was stymied by persistent operational and reliability slip-ups.

The Woking team’s sporting director Sam Michael formed part of the five-man expert panel on the podcast and acknowledged that in contrast to Red Bull, McLaren had largely tripped themselves up in its pursuit of the world championship in 2012. However, he hopes RBR’s cycle of success is reaching is natural end.

“I think a lot of the reason why McLaren didn’t beat them this year was not because of Red Bull’s strength, a lot of it was our weaknesses. We should have been there if it wasn’t for reliability and performance across some different tracks, and operational issues. So they’re all self-inflicted,” Michael admitted.

“So that comes down to how we manage our championship and we know that very well. I think Red Bull has a lot of strength. Adrian [Newey]’s a fantastic designer, he’s basically been instrumental in turning them into a world championship team and he’s done it again this year and hats off to him.

“Sebastian’s a fantastic driver, as is Mark Webber, so they do have a good team together but success in Formula 1 is always cyclical and it goes through peaks and troughs. They’re on a peak at the moment, so I hope the trough’s right round the corner!”


The full interview with Christian Horner, and a chat with new triple world champion Sebastian Vettel, form part of the bumper end-of-season JA on F1 podcast in which an expert panel review the big talking points of 2012 and look ahead to next year. Download it directly here or visit the iTunes store.


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@ sheffieldchap

I didn’t have a dig at Button. I do believe my comment was constructive. We are commenting on an article which ends with Horner giving his view on the challengers for next season. I am just discussing what I think the likely scenario will be :).

I think he is a good driver and certainly one of the best when it comes to changeable conditions. However, I certainly don’t feel he has the ability to carry a team through a rough patch like Alonso/Hamilton can. If he gets a dominant car from the get go like in 2009 then he can manage the situation.


I think it is very much likely that Vettel and Redbull will be the package to beat come 15 March. Despite what the British media says, no one considers Button to be amongst the top trio. I have a feeling Perez will run him very close (if not score more points). I’m a Ferrari fan and I just hope for once that they can hit the ground running. I thought we’d had the last of the wind tunnel issues and it’s frustrating to know the updates never really worked.

I know this is off topic but can you please ask the right people why we don’t have FREE Android/iOS timing apps? I remember there being a free timing app in 2011 but that didn’t last for this season. With all the talk about using media and bringing content to the fans, I find it really absurd that there’s a just a single paid app for this. No one has to pay to follow a live football game or a tennis match!


It’s a bold prediction. Personally I very much doubt that Perez will outscore Button, given that even Hamilton was not able to do that over 3 years. You can criticise Button’s abilities in various areas, but one thing he is definitely good at is scoring points.



I agree he is very precise but I do not feel he has what it takes to sustain a title challenge unless he starts out with a dominant car. I mean the way he was lost for 6-7 races during the middle of the season, that’s just not on if he’s to be McLaren’s leading driver.

Not criticizing him guys. The thing is if you’re talking about their overall points total (I know Button is ahead of Lewis), you’ve to take in to account the number of wins McLaren’s reliability/operational frailties cost Hamilton. At the end of the day Hamilton knows that, Button knows that and even McLaren knows that :P!

Honestly though I can’t wait for 2013 to get underway. If the pecking order stays this way then Lewis’s move has just made it that much easier for Vettel to pick up where he left off. Here’s hoping Ferrari can mix it up with the other two this time from the get go!


Think you’ve got Button all wrong, he is a top driver, but he’s like Damon Hill in my book. If the maximum the car can achieve around a single lap is 1.30, Button will give you 1.30’s until the tyres start degrading. The problem Button has is Lewis will give you 1.29.90, because he will rag more out of the car. This is more tiring and a less precise science, and more prone to driver error and tyre wear, but simply, its a different style. Damon was one of the best testers of Formula one cars ever, and so would Button be, because their perfectionists in the main. All three of the drivers mentioned are world champions!!Over a race distance I’d give Button the edge over Lewis in consistency, over a single lap, theres only one winner.

Lewis has a lot of brake downs, but I believe when one team mate has a lot of breakdowns, and the other doesn’t, then there is a driving contribution to them.Maybe this year some parts of the Mclaren were less forgiving to Lewis’s style than other Mclarens were. Same goes for Vettel over Webber.


i dont understand why you had to have a dig at button in that comment… i really dont undertand why people have such an issue with the guy. he is actually a good racer. he’s won a WC and 15 races for petes sake. they just dont happen by luck. give the guy a break and if you dont have anything constructive to say, dont bother. just be cause you happen to dislike a particular driver…


IMO he only means that McLaren will have a hard time. I think so too. JB is a quick guy on the day, generally he is lacking.

McLaren will struggle with driver line up next year. Unless they can come up with an RB type of car that just disappears in the distance on the first lap.

Adrian Newey Jnr

In my book, despite having a good driver and a decent car, I think they were lucky to win the championship. Clearly McLaren had the best car, and given Webber’s capitualtion during the 2nd half of the season, McLaren also had the stronger driver pairing.

That said, sometimes a bit of luck is all you need. All it takes is for your driver to get injured (eg Schumacher’s leg, Massa’s head, etc) and your careful plans are out the window.


‘Webber’s capitualtion’

What is that?


Just listened to the pod cast – it’s great – some very interesting comments

Also well done on pushing Horner about the motivation thing – he was very cagey about answering those questions. He still didn’t really give us an answer though did he…


Red Bull and Vettel have won a hat trick but they dominated only last year. Others two were hard fought till the last lap.

I totally agree with Sam Michael. Red Bull were not the fastest this year; it was McLarens who had the fastest car. In fact Red Bull won with the slower car.

All credit for Newey for designing a fantastic car but Vettel made the difference. If it is not for him, they wouldn’t have won any of the driver’s championships.

As for Ferrari, they are second in the championship not because their drivers did a great job but they were the main beneficiaries when McLaren and Red Bull hit reliability problems. Ferrari got bucket loads of points on these occasions. Sadly, I never read any of the team personnel getting any credit for coming up with the most reliable car on the grid.


Actually, if Hamilton’s McLaren didn’t fail in Singapore, Alonso would have been WDC. So Vettel also benefited. Actually, it’s quite stupid to talk like that, because, obviously, everyone who is behind the car that staps will benefit. Just because Alonso is the best driver in the field and is the first one behind the fastest car, only means he drove better then most.


Just food for thought: had Hamilton not failed in Singapore, would RBR have told Webber to finish behind Vettel in Bresil with Vettel winning the title?


If, if, if … we can talk about so many ifs and buts and then Karthikeyan would have won the championship. In my opinion Kimi is the one who did the best job throughout the season.


Reliable but slow isn’t exactly something to sing about.

I miss the days when engineers took chances to win races. You can see that attitude coming back in McLaren and RB – fast, yet fragile cars.

Ferrari is still stuck in the Schumi era where 100% reliability was championed over bleeding edge tech. They had a wonderfully reliable car this year, but without a SINGLE technological innovation worth talking about (and no, suspension off a 15 year old Arrows doesn’t count).


‘Ferrari is still stuck in the Schumi era where 100% reliability was championed over bleeding edge tech.’

However that policy and Schumi at the wheel won them 5 titles on the trot. I wonder if Alonso can do the same?


Kind of hard to argue with the success of that philosophy.

As for innovation Ferrari has been struggling with their wind tunnel for quite some time. Who knows what will happen when it’s working up to snuff.


I do think it will be another RB Contructor’s Championship next year.

McLaren will suffer with Perez (inevitable teething issues); and Ferrari will suffer with Massa, again (he’ll have his confidence issues around contract renewal, again).

Seb and Webber are the only driver combination in a top team next year with a potential of both winning a significant number of races. (Which isn’t to say that Massa or Perez [or even Merc] won’t win, but that those will be exceptions to expectations)


What is Massa starts off hot? Will Ferrari back him?


I see what you’re getting at, but it’s a moot question, because he won’t. You need less than one hand to count the seasons where Massa has started off ‘hot’. Even less fingers for those seasons where he has started and stayed ‘hot’ (I count 1). Mister consistency he is not (which is why Ferrari won’t win the constructors until Vettel and Hulkenberg join in 2014.)

Regardless, Massa hasn’t a snowball’s chance in Delhi of having Ferrari’s support over FA.


KGBVD – I suspect your right, I have nothing to back it up with, but I don’t think Alonso would think twice about jumping into a Newey car!!

The thing I don’t get is why everyone thinks its only Newey, Red Bull simply employ the best, theres a whole team of geniuses working with him. If Newey did it all on his own, Red Bull wouldn’t win!!


Agree. It’s a business axiom that “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. Cliche but true. So quite why Massa is still rocking up to work at Maranello I have no idea. Do Ferrari honestly think that next year is the year he’ll finally start contributing on a parity with Alonso towards the Constructors’ title?!


I think Alonso will switch with Vettel in 2014. Contracts mean squat to Ferrari (just ask Schumi or Kimi). And when Luca gave his “no two roosters at Ferrari” response to rumours of Vettel’s arrival in 2014, he never said WHICH rooster it was going to be.

Alonso in a RB will be unstoppable.


“Vettel and Hulkenberg join in 2014”

So Alonso retires after next year?


They can obviously keep winning if they continue to bend / stretch the rules.

Flexi wing, rubber wing, holes in floor, engine mappings…(what else have I missed?)

Is there any other team/s this year that have had the same number of checks into their car as much as they have?


Not sure if it’s a bad thing that their car has questionable legality. I mean haven’t we all heard the old adage “it’s only cheating if you get caught” and so far they’ve not been ‘caught’…

If you want to blame anyone blame the FIA for having piss poor policies/regulations sometimes. I mean everyone has been wondering about flexi wings and the FIA’s solution is to take an incremental approach to clamping down on the problem with change after change to their testing procedure.

Personally I don’t understand what’s so hard to be finding a way to determine whether parts are ‘rigid’ or ‘flexi’

In any case Red Bull hasn’t fallen afoul of the rules so it’s all good. Other teams should follow suit!


As Craig commented, it’s not so easy. What they really want to measure is the designer’s intent: does the part bend simply because nothing’s infinitely rigid, especially when designed for lightness? Or does it bend because it’s been designed to do so in a certain way for an aerodynamic gain?

That’s what the FIA realised they couldn’t do when they opened the door for flexible aerodynamic solutions last year.

Craig in Singapore

“what’s so hard to be finding a way to determine whether parts are ‘rigid’ or ‘flexi’”

Pun intended?

What’s so hard is the definition. Nothing is really inflexible – put enough force on pretty much anything and it will bend.


McClaren had a wing that was believed to be deflecting the same as Red Bulls this year, and they were asked to change their floor around the Canada GP timeframe.

Sauber also had a hole similar to Red Bulls (actually think Sauber had it first) and had to change it.

You just hear about it more with Red Bull because they’re on top right now.

Jack Flash (Aust)

Bruce McLaren…

Team McLaren…

It’s McLaren for Pete’s sake. JF

Craig in Singapore

Pete McClaren??


And yet always somehow within the rules.


I’m willing to believe that this is not far from the truth.

I think Red Bull will do the Ferrari domination YoYo. One year they will steam roll the competition the next it will be close. If you look for patterns we have:

2010: Close WDC fight

2011: Steam Rolled the field

2012: Close WDC fight

2013: Steam Roller?


With Turkey looking to be a no go, we may be racing at Red Bull Ring in Austria?

I think we give Red Bull a hard time for dominating last 3 years, but it is clear that this company is making a HUGE contribution to F1. 2 teams, promotion, marketing, now possibly hosting a race at it’s own track.

Honestly, I think this Christmas I may actually have to drink one of these sugary things as a toast to the contributions made by them to the motorsport I enjoy so much.

Craig in Singapore

Put a whole heap of vodka in it and it just might stay down. Merry Xmas!


My grandma passed down the very same recipe.



Definitely. As much as I like to see Red Bull lose, I’m certainly happy that they’ve come to the sport and done what they have. Perhaps most notably the fact that they have two teams and reach out to aspiring drivers and provide a way for them to get into F1.


Pretty realistic comment. I drew a cartoon of a sports drink can a last season. The can had an L shaped opening and the word McLaren printed on the side.

The caption “McLaren starts competing with Red Bull”


I always ask this- what do Toro Rosso bring to the sport?

I wish their livery wasn’t so similar to the big team for a start, it really hacks me off!

If Ferrari had two teams, they would be much maligned…


Couldn’t agree more


I predict that both Vettel and Horner will leave for Ferrari come 2014…..And for RB and Ferrari to have an unsettling 2013 (similar to the Lewis v McLaren furore).


I read somewhere that Horner is tipped to take Bernie’s job should all this German guff kick off in a big way for him as he can’t represent F1 wile being charged with criminal activities. I think Christian Horner would be a great successor to the thrown as he’s cool headed and charismatic, and I think would always keep the excitement and spirit of racing as a priority.

I also believe that Vettel taking himself out of a Newey designed car would be one of the worst moves ever, unless Newey and Vettel went to Marinello together, especially if Horner took the F1 helm and quit Red Bull.

Jack Flash (Aust)

I am somewhat thrown, as to exactly what group of hurled, launched, catapulted or pitched persons ‘a great successor’ might be required to replace.

Wouldn’t be more traditional just to take the leadership role and sit on a very large ceremonial chair in a ruling fashion? JF


Wow! That would be very interesting and exciting times for F1!

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