There’s been some discussion here about how out-of-character Christian Horner seemed to be handling his drivers’ battles. Typically a very straight-forward guy, Horner’s been pulling out the Ronspeak and Matt Bishop bravado since the British Grand Prix — heck even back to Turkey.
Well, he may be getting over that. A Q and A over at Autosport is must read. Here’s a few highlights:
Q. What are the lessons you’ve taken out of the events from the British Grand Prix?
Christian Horner: The main one is to turn the radio off after the race! No seriously, I think Silverstone, first of all, was a fantastic performance for the team. It was our second race win in a row, so to win at Silverstone is one of the big events and Mark [Webber] drove a brilliant race from start-to-finish.
Sebastian [Vettel] was unlucky with the touch at the first corner with Lewis, but then his recovery drive was equally impressive. There were a lot of positives to take out of the weekend and it was a shame that it was overshadowed too much as to whether Mark was going to be leaving us or not after the race. But that got quickly dealt with, and there is a real determination in the team to go out there and get the best result we can this weekend.
Q. Is the front wing back this weekend? And if so, how many have you got this weekend?
CH: The front wing is back this weekend. The plan is to run it this weekend and both drivers will have it tomorrow. Hopefully we will have enough to support both of them throughout the whole weekend.
Q. How many have you got? Two at the moment?
CH: We’ve got a little bit more than that…
Q. So, three then?
Q. So you can confirm that if the wing situation repeats itself and Mark is in a better position, he will get the wing?
CH: Yes. If the component fails through no reason of the driver – and let’s not forget that it wasn’t because Sebastian had smashed the wing, it was a component that failed â€“ then the same rules will apply. But we will work very hard to hopefully not be in that unenviable situation again.
Q. Do you think from a marketing point of view, it is better to have Sebastian as a champion than Mark?
CH: No, absolutely not. Mr. [Dietrich] Mateschitz has always told me that he doesn’t care whether he has the oldest or the youngest world champion â€“ as long as it is in a Red Bull car. There is no internal or Red Bull preference to see one driver win over the other.
Q. Are events like Silverstone and Turkey a distraction for you at a time you should be focused entirely on performance to try and nail the championship, rather than worrying about fighting fires?
CH: Istanbul was a racing accident at the end of the day. We saw one of those happen between Fernando [Alonso] and Felipe Massa on the first lap at Silverstone, but when you are running fifth and sixth it doesn’t gain as much coverage as when you are racing for the lead of a grand prix. I think far too much was made of Silverstone and the team is very, very focused on the next nine races. It is important we do the best job we can. We have won five out of 10 races so far â€“ 50 per cent of the races â€“ which is a pretty impressive record. We only won six races in the whole of last year, and people forget how far the team has come in such a short space of time. For sure there are always lessons that can be learned, and perhaps our learning curve at times is slightly steeper than some of the other teams, but the passion, the commitment and the dedication that exists within the team is what has made the team, and continues to make the team, as strong as it is.
One of the ethics of Red Bull is freedom of expression, and perhaps we do that more than other teams â€“ sometimes we get criticised for it, sometimes we get complimented for it. But, we do our best, as the drivers well know, to treat them with as much parity as we feasibly can.
That strikes me as how to handle an F1 interview. Some humor, a lot of honesty. At the least, it makes him a lot more likable — and I think that’s important. It makes it easier to be a fan.
Thoughts? Anyone have a different reaction? Think it sounds scripted?