Red Bull: Winning makes us unpopular

By on Saturday, November 26, 2011

© Red Bull

Christian Horner has admitted that Red Bull Racing’s dominance of this year’s championship has made the team unpopular but that winning more than makes up for it.

After taking the Drivers’ title in Japan with Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing wrapped up this year’s Constructors’ Championship title with two races in hand at the Indian Grand Prix. But while the team’s 11 wins and record-breaking 17 poles this season have made them targets in the paddock, Red Bull team principal Horner insisted that a perceived lack of popularity was irrelevant.

“Winning grands prix tends to make up for it, to be honest,” he said. “It’s one of those things: you can’t be everybody’s darling. For us, we tend to focus on what we’re doing and not let other things distract us.

“There’s a phenomenal team spirit within the team,” he added. “Yeah, we’ve set the benchmark over the last couple of years, but with that comes an added pressure that you go from being the hunter to being the hunted and that’s a different type of pressure to have to deal with.

“I think that’s one of the things that has really pleased me this year: how the team has dealt with that different type of pressure. When you’re chasing a championship like last year, and almost went into the last round expecting it to be a long shot to win the championship but coming out on top, it was a completely different pressure this year and so the manner in which we conducted our campaign this year was tremendously rewarding.” Horner added that Red Bull’s phenomenal success this season was down to each department within the team working well together.

“It’s a combination of everything working in harmony,” he said. “Everything, every department, all the bits that you don’t see. You see the shop-window effectively at a grand prix weekend, but it’s the behind-the-scenes as well. The production, the thousands of hours that go into forgotten departments like electronics, like the R&D department, the paint-shop for example. It is all those factors that have to come together.

“The drivers have to do their bit,” he conceded. “Obviously Sebastian has driven at an unbelievable level this year but it’s the harmonisation of all those aspects that have to come together to achieve the kind of results that we had.”

“It’s funny, when you start winning you are very popular but when you win repeatedly you become very unpopular,” he said. “That’s the nature of sport, the nature of this business. Of course, if you look at the last 40 races we have won 23 of them. We have had 25 podiums this year alone, 17 poles. It has been a remarkable year, or a remarkable period for the team, and with continuity, with stability, our target is to try and maintain the level of performance and success that we have worked so hard to achieve over the last few years.

“But we are up against phenomenal opponents,” he concluded. “Ferrari, the pedigree of that team, the heritage of that team. The engineering resource of McLaren. You have only got to see the size and scale of their facility. We don’t underestimate our rivals but we are determined, very focused, to build on and maintain the kind of levels of performance we have achieved not only this year but in 2010 and in the latter half of 2009.”

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