Horner’s Success Story: How a Man Without Racing Speed ​​Built Red Bull’s Best Team

Christian Horner is celebrating his 49th birthday and his 18th season in Formula 1. In 2005, the team boss took over a racing team from the pinnacle of motorsport for the first time when energy drink manufacturer Red Bull decided to take over Jaguar. From that moment on, Horner, with the help of some other notable figures in motorsport, was able to build an empire with Red Bull Racing. However, the Leamington Spa motorsports man’s career wasn’t always a bed of roses. F1 max He delves into the story of the Red Bull boss, especially for Horner’s birthday.

In the past 18 seasons, Red Bull has produced two world champions who together have won six drivers’ titles. In addition, the Austrian national team has won the Constructors’ Championship five times. It took a while before Red Bull became a real contender, but as of the 2009 season the team can always be found in the top three. New aerodynamic regulations meant the team could float on the surface, but with the dawn of the hybrid era, Red Bull had to acknowledge its supremacy at Mercedes. Now it seems that a new period of Red Bull’s dominance is upon us again.

Brundle: Unfortunately, it wasn’t fast enough

As a young boy, Horner had the same dreams as most in other circles: to become a Formula 1 driver. In 1993, twenty-year-old Horner made the move to the regional Formula 3 series and had a solid season there. It turned out to be the most successful year in the active British racing career. Horner managed to win six out of fourteen races and was on the podium four more times. However, that wasn’t good enough for the tournament. In the years that followed, Horner could no longer break any pot in motorsport.

However, Horner ended up in the Formula 1 junior class in 1997. That year, with some ransom, he and his father created a Formula 3000 team, Arden. To call it a disappointing season would be an understatement. Horner finished 21st in the championship and scored just one meager point in the total. In six of the ten races, Horner failed to qualify for a race. He was allowed to stay with Arden for a year longer, but was again unsuccessful, with the current Red Bull team boss managing to score zero points. In a conversation with Martin Brundle during the Singapore Grand Prix, the reporter mentioned the disappointing fact. “It’s a pity you were too old to drive here,” Horner joked. “It is a pity that he was not fast enough to get into Formula 1,” Brundle said.

Horner bows to Arden at will on his way to F1

Although Horner himself ended his racing career after the 1998 season, he remained involved in Formula 3000. He decided to develop the Arden team and the Briton successfully did it. In this period, the relationship also began with current Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who still had a team in Formula 3000 in 1997, called RSM Marko. The team hired Austrian Juan Pablo Montoya, who eventually won the championship in 1998, though he did so with Supernova Racing. Horner bought a trailer from Marco in his first seasons in Formula 3000, leaving the Arden owner’s name stuck in the mind of the man who runs the Red Bull Junior Team.

In the early years after ending his racing career he did not immediately enjoy great success with the Arden team. The team first needed money for this and the team received it to some extent from Lukoil, but the drivers were not yet able to achieve the necessary results. Arden did not achieve the success that Horner was waiting for until 2002, but before that the team had to complete the deal with Lukoil. Although Arden managed to win the tournament, it was not without the necessary controversy. Thomas Eng, one of the team’s drivers, also took the title in the Drivers’ Championship, but had to relinquish it after failing to submit a negative drug test. As a result, Sebastien Bourdais, a racer in the Supernova race, took first place from the Czech.

Horner saw it was in him to make a step into Formula 1, but in motorsport’s premier class, there hasn’t been a really positive response towards the Briton. In 2004, Arden won both tournaments with Vitantonio Liuzzi, and as backup Robert Doornbos. Horner decided to take matters into his own hands and try to take control of Jordan’s team. The two sides failed to agree on a price, forcing Horner to be patient. A little later on the Formula 1 circuit, another takeover was completed. Red Bull took over the team from Jaguar, and Marco, who had started out as a consultant, knew another name that would make him team boss. Dietrich Mateschitz agreed and Horner joined the team.

F1’s youngest team boss strikes an important early blow on the road to the years of dominance

In 2005, Horner was not only awarded the title of Red Bull Team Principal, but also the youngest ever Team Principal in Formula 1. The Briton had only eight weeks to pass on his philosophy to the rest of the team, when came the Australian Grand Prix. Already at a fast pace. Red Bull faced David Coulthard and Christian Klien as drivers in its first season in the top division, and the first Grand Prix of the season was certainly not a dramatic one. With the Cosworth power supply at the rear of the car, Red Bull immediately took a double point in Melbourne. The team managed to maintain good form for a number of Grand Prix races, but especially in the second half of the season, hardly any points were scored. As a result, Red Bull eventually finished seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.

In the years since, the team has kind of stuck in the same place, but in 2006 Red Bull managed to land a very important blow. Adrian Newey, who was already known as the chief engineer at the time, was brought on board. Horner also played a very important role in the negotiations. It was of course necessary for the team boss to convince Newey which way Red Bull wanted to go. in Diary of a CEOpodcast, the Red Bull team boss recently indicated that Newey believes in the Austrian team’s project. However, Newey’s first years with the team did not bring him immediate success. The engines in the back of a Red Bull car often brought such bad luck that the team could never compete for the title. The racing team needed a rule change.

Christian Horner and Adrian Newey have been working together successfully for many years.

This major organizational change came in 2009, but Red Bull wasn’t able to strike right away that year. Brawn GP found some loopholes, allowing the team to provide Jenson Button with a lightning fast car. When other teams managed to catch up with Ross Brawn, the Red Bull team, led in particular by Sebastian Vettel, began to win races. When the clever Brawn GP trick was finally banned, Red Bull could really compete for world titles. In 2010 it was the same. Vettel secured his first world title and Red Bull also won the Constructors’ Championship. It was just the prelude to another three years of success. Horner’s vision, with the unrelenting support of Marko and Mischitz, paid off.

Red Bull has to crawl out of the valley

Since 2014, Mercedes has taken the lead in Formula 1. The German team has won a total of eight Constructors’ Championships and Red Bull is only close in 2021. That year, Max Verstappen of course managed to win the driver’s title, but it was a long way to go to renew success for the team Austrian. New engine regulations caused Renault to take a step back. In addition, there was a changing of the guard within the drivers line. Daniel Ricciardo became the new star at Red Bull in 2014, the year the Australian beat Vettel outright. The four-time world champion received an offer for the following season, which he could not refuse; Contract with the legendary Ferrari.

The 2015 season ended up being particularly bad from a sporting point of view for Red Bull. The team failed to win a race and finished fourth in the championship. Something special has happened at sister team Toro Rosso. Verstappen made his debut at the age of 17 and immediately showed the world of Formula 1 what he was capable of. A year later, the Dutchman made his debut in the Austrian GP and immediately took his first victory. Marko and Horner firmly believed in Verstappen’s chances of becoming future world champions, but according to Ricciardo, the pair went too far. The multiple race winner made the switch to Renault, but in the end it turned out that Red Bull was right. Verstappen has become the world champion they have always seen.

Before that, the team still had a lot of difficulties to overcome, especially given the performance of the Renault engine. Horner and Cyril Abiteboul have caused strong animosity in the relationship between the two racing stables and this relationship cannot be repaired. Red Bull, with all the attendant risks, chose to team up with Honda. A gamble that worked out well for the team in 2021, and now also in 2022. Japanese engine manufacturer Red Bull brought the reliability the team had been looking for all these years. In addition, the engine is also excellent performance, which also allowed Red Bull to win the constructors’ title this season. Although Red Bull has been successful over the past eighteen years, it has certainly not been easy. But if an engineer like Newey believes in your project, you’re doing something right. So Horner will become one of the best team principals in Formula 1 history.

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