Formula 1 | Horner: ‘dramatic’ changes at Red Bull in 18 years
Christian Horner will mark his 19th year at Red Bull this year, and the Brit returns after almost two decades at the highest level of motorsport. He applauds the evolution of his team over the years, as well as the support he has received from the firm’s managers.
“It was a remarkable trip” Horner told Motorsport Magazine. “Looking back, I look very young in 2005 and the team has changed a lot. So I think we’ve both changed a lot in the last 18 years.”
“So this will be my 19th season in charge of the team and it’s evolved a lot over that time. The people we have – a lot of the faces have been there from the beginning, but we’ve also welcomed more people – and the facilities have changed dramatically.”
“Certainly with the arrival of Red Bull Powertrains, our development there, it’s a time of rapid expansion on campus with the wind tunnel also coming to the site. But to bring all that technology under essentially one roof. one campus.”
Decisive stability at the head of the team
Apart from Mateschitz, who has been out of action due to illness in recent years, Red Bull have had the same leaders from the start with Horner, Helmut Marko, Adrian Newey and sporting director Jonathan Wheatley. Horner is happy to rely on these solid criteria.
“The team is always evolving and any competitive team will always be evolving. But I’ve had great support from the shareholders from Dietrich. [Mateschitz], has been fantastic all these years and the current shareholders have continued to follow his mantra. That’s why it was decisive.”
“And you have a great group of people around you. Formula 1 is the biggest team sport in the world and it requires all the parts to work properly and efficiently to deliver the results we’ve achieved over the years. And at the end of the day, it’s a people business.”
“I think we’ve always enjoyed stability, and I think stability has a huge benefit because it removes the culture of fear. And I think stability is one of the biggest things we’ve benefited from. You grow from that stability, and you let people do their jobs.”
“And of course we’ve had quite a bit of success over the last 18 seasons, so my motivation is as high as the first day I came here and I’m excited about what’s in store for us this year, but also for 2026 and beyond.”
Red Bull Powertrains as the next challenge
Horner’s role at the wheel of Red Bull changes as he now has to oversee the creation of the engine department. Red Bull Powertrains is indeed developing a powertrain that will power single-seaters from 2026, but it’s unclear whether they will be Honda, Ford, or another marque.
“I think the next step is to continue to be successful, to develop the team and the business. And I think the next big challenge for us is powertrains. We have a young engine company that is fighting against Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine, VW. The group, so this , is a big problem.”
“Behind the Red Bull car we have 150 weeks before the engine comes out of the pit lane for the first time. So it focuses the mind, it’s a big challenge. It’s a brave company to think that an independent team can handle these types of constructors.”
“But again, the same culture, the approach we take on the chassis side, and having everything under one roof and the long-term benefits it brings are significant. Time and focus to ensure we achieve our goals.
Vowles, Wasser: Horner welcomes new principals
More than half of F1 team managers have changed in a year. Among the new managers, James Vowles took charge of Williams and Horner believes the former Mercedes strategist is the right fit for the Grove team. What he doesn’t know is that this position is preparation for Vowles’ return to Mercedes.
“I don’t know James very well, but he’s a very capable person. Williams will do his homework and research and I think it’s good that they give him a chance to step up. So I think it can only be. Good news for Williams.”
“And is there anything to that? Obviously, Williams would do what’s right for them and what’s good for their business. But only they will know what was agreed upon for early release.”
Horner feels sorry for Mattia Binotto, who has been replaced by Fred Vasseur at Ferrari, and he also thinks the Frenchman will do well at the helm of the Scuderia: “It was interesting to watch the moves. I have sympathy for Mattia because in the end he did a good job.”
“Last year was a big step up from the year before, so after such a long service with Ferrari it must be difficult for him. It will be interesting for Fred to see if he can still discuss the same points. Next time Sauber!”
“But again, he’s a very capable guy. Yeah, it’s going to be very interesting. I’m sure they’re all very capable people. So we’ll see what the dynamics are at the next Formula Commission meeting. 1.”