Q&A with Red Bull's Christian Horner Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner was a very busy man as the Milton Keynes based squad’s new charger, the RB5, was unveiled to the eagerly awaiting media earlier today. Speaking after the launch Horner revealed his thoughts on the new car, the new rules and his new driver….
Is the RB5 a Newey masterpiece? With the major changes to the regulations, it’s interesting to see the different approaches taken by the various teams. Adrian’s brief was simple: to build the best and fastest race car he can. We decided on the strategy of spending a bit more time in the wind tunnel and we always planned to get the car on track around this date. I think Adrian and the team have done a stunning job. The car looks excellent and hopefully that will be translated into good lap times. The packaging strategy we have adopted is different to that of other teams and we won’t see until Melbourne where the teams are in the pecking order.
What do you think of the new rules? They represent the biggest change for 20 years and are very interesting, with the arrival of KERS and the welcome return of slick tires.
You’ve also got a one new driver alongside Mark Webber. We’re delighted to have Sebastian Vettel on board. His rise to stardom last year was meteoric and we hope to provide him with a platform that will allow him to continue in that same vein. I’m sure Mark will be a very strong team-mate for him and, as a pairing, it means Red Bull Racing has a very attractive package. It will be fascinating to see how the competition between the two of them evolves. There are not many drivers to rival Mark over a single lap. At the moment, he faces the additional challenge of getting back to full fitness, but I expect it to be a case of swings and roundabouts between them during the course of the year. Ultimately, they will push each other very hard, which will bring the best out in both of them. They get on well and hopefully the net result will be two competitive cars at every race.
And what changes can you tell us about back at the factory? To anyone who last came to our Milton Keynes factory two and a half years ago, the facility would now be completely unrecognizable, in terms of manufacture, Research and Development and design tools. We’ve invested strategically in the facility and I think the regulation changes have had a less draconian effect on Red Bull Racing than some other teams, because we haven’t carried the fat that some of the bigger teams have. This means we are well positioned for the future, especially as the new rules have created a more level playing field. The challenge this year is going to be that one will have to develop the car with no in-season testing, apart from the Friday running. That will stretch the engineers’ ingenuity to the maximum.
Have you reduced your staffing level? All the teams have had to consider making some reductions in the number of staff and this has been partly achieved because of the fact there is now less activity: obviously, if you are not going testing, you don’t need a test team. We now only have a race team. Wherever possible, we have moved people into other areas, but inevitably there will be a few redundancies. But in our case, the numbers will be very small, because we did not have the big numbers of staff of some of the other teams.
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