From the outside, success in Formula One appears to be the preserve of a tiny number of people – two drivers, a pit wall of senior personnel and a small crew of dedicated engineers and mechanics in the garage. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, and grand prix racing relies on a vastly larger group effort involving hundreds of team members back at the team’s base, as well as the support of a host of hard-working partners and suppliers.
Tasked with Red Bull Racing’s (RBR) talent management is Team Principal Christian Horner OBE, who since the foundation of the team in 2005 has made it his goal to carefully assemble and marshal a team of racing experts in pursuit of grand prix glory.
Christian talks about Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, regulation changes in 2017 and his hopes for the new season.
On Pre-season Preparation:
Well in any off season it always has its moments and pressures and demands but yeah, we’re like a swan on the surface and paddling furiously underneath. That is the same as any pre-season but we are generally pretty much on target.
Expectations for 2017:
Well we went into the winter on a, on a real high and the momentum definitely built during the course of last year. We developed the car well, we raced well, strategically we were strong, it’s also a clean sheet of paper and that, for any designer, engineer is a really exciting challenge. Will there there be a gizmo that we’ve missed that somebody else has found? Hopefully not and hopefully we’ll be competitive.
On the new engine:
It’s a brand new engine for this year, change of philosophy. We’re hoping for a step in performance. If that is delivered then hopefully we can really be a challenger team this year and give the Mercedes and the Ferraris a hard time.
What are the driver’s strengths?
Well the main strengths of Max and Daniel, well hopefully this year is their neck, because it’s going to be a lot more G forces this year as they are both ferocious racers. I don’t think there are any drivers out there that are better overtakers than our two guys. They are tremendously dedicated, enjoying what they do, they love what they do, you can see they really revel in being Grand Prix drivers and they’re having fun along the way. There is also a sort of a big brother little brother mentality going on…
On the new regulations:
Well the rules are a bit different for this year, the cars are looking different, they’re more aggressive looking. They have wider, bigger tyres, more downforce, more aerodynamics and so I think the cars are going to look great, they will be four or five seconds a lap quicker. They are going to be a bigger physical challenge for the drivers for sure and how that impacts the racing will be fascinating to see.
We’re set for some fascinating Grand Prix this year and we’re for sure going to see a difference in the pecking order of the drivers because these cars are really stretching their abilities.
On Red Bull’s position in Formula 1:
Red Bull’s ethos towards Formula 1 has always been about, Formula 1 is a sport foremost and utmost and a sport, it needs to entertain, has to be entertaining. It has got to be man and machine at the absolute limit and I think perhaps we need to think a little less about technology and a little bit more about ultimate chariot racing that Formula 1 should be and I think there’s a great opportunity moving forward to really address some of those points.
To bring the noise back into Formula 1 and turning the volume up, it would be fantastic if they, they sounded a bit louder as well. It makes the drivers the stars and the heroes that they should be, give more access to those drivers and personalities that exist within Formula 1. I think they’re the core elements that need to be focused on.
On the design:
What excites us most about 2017 is, is the opportunities that arise from these new regulations. It’s gonna be fascinating to see who’s got it right, who’s got it wrong and of course then it’s gonna be a development race, all the way from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi and you’ll see big increments early on because the regulations are pretty immature.
I think that there is gonna be low hanging fruit early on to make sizeable steps and that is gonna be fascinating and push every department in the whole team to try and outwit, outsmart, out develop, out produce our rivals… and that is going to be a stellar challenge in Formula 1 this year.
Photos: Red Bull Content Pool