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.