Time was when the key members of Red Bull Racing all had linked contracts. Now Christian Horner is the only member of the star triumvirate, that led Red Bull to multi-championship success, who remains part of the thrust to bring the Milton Keynes- squad back to the top.
In recent days he quelled speculation about his future by confirming that he has signed a new contract with the team and the 41-year-old has made it clear that he has pinned his colours to the mast of a team in the rebuilding phase after years of dominance.
A total of eight consecutive driver’s and constructor’s world titles from 2010 to 2013 led to a disappointing second in the manufacturer’s standings last season and a current position of fourth in the 2015 constructor’s list.
Ongoing reliability woes and increasing speculation about Red Bull’s long term intentions might have tempered Horner’s motivation but instead, the Leamington-Spa native is fully focused on a future with the team.
“I recently signed an extension to my contract with Red Bull, I have a great relationship with Dietrich and my goal is very much on getting the team back to the situation we were in 18 months ago,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
But if Horner is fully focused on the future with Red Bull, he’ll be doing it with a new inner cabal at the team. Formerly linked by contract with Sebastian Vettel and Adrian Newey, Horner now finds himself gathering a new crew around himself.
Design guru Newey is not involved day to day in the key engineering decisions, while Sebastian Vettel is now firmly ensconced at Ferrari, so Horner finds himself fighting a rearguard action at the once dominant squad.
Either way Horner is delighted to put endless online chatter about his future with the team to bed, at least for the time being.
“[The speculation] is total rubbish. The thing is not to put too much energy into things like that, but in the world we live in sometimes people from rival teams say things and they get picked up and then a story goes on the internet and it goes from there.
“That is the problem with social media – two weeks ago I was taking over from Bernie, this week I was leaving the team, next week I’ll be driving the car probably.”
While Adrian Newey has been seen at certain races this year, indications are that he no longer has a hands-on role in the Red Bull car development. He remains contracted to Red Bull, which prevents his talent being tapped by any rivals on the pit lane.
Ferrari heavily courted the most celebrated design engineer of his era last summer but Red Bull managed to keep his creative genius under golden lock and key.
Vettel has departed but indications are that, in Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull have a strong driver line up to get the best out of the machines they develop.
And in Rob Marshall, Chief Engineering Officer, and Paul Monaghan, head of Car Engineering, Red Bull have experienced talent from which Horner can use his managerial experience to create a new era for the team.