Horner: RBR in good shape for F1's new future.
Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner believes that there are several factors that could play into his team's hands this season, not least the fact that all ten F1 operations are starting from scratch in terms of their cars.
Speaking as the Milton Keynes-based squad unveiled its new RB5 at a low-key launch in southern Spain, Horner pointed out that other happenings in the Formula One world since the dramatic end to the 2008 season in Brazil would also favour Red Bull.
“Going into 2009, the team is now well placed to take advantage of the rule changes, not just the technical ones that we have known about for some time, but also those established through the efforts of FIA and FOTA last December," he said, referring to the various cost-cutting measures hammered out by the sport's two guiding forces.
"Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Technology carried no excess weight in terms of manpower, so adjusting to the new rules has, for us, been relatively straight-forward and we are in good shape for the future.
“The changes caused few interruptions to our workflow and they will also assist the larger manufacturer teams in cutting costs, in terms of manpower. Over the past year, we had invested strategically and, therefore, with the rules as they now stand, we are in a good position to capitalise on them, as they present an opportunity for teams to compete on a more level playing field."
RBR's challenger on that playing field comes from the tried and trusted pen of Adrian Newey, with the equally-experienced Geoff Willis pulling all elements of the design and production process together as the team attempts to take the step to bridge the gap between being a regular point-scorer, as it was in 2008, and race winner.
“2009 will also see us benefit from greater stability in terms of how we run the operation, with all our key players in the technical group having been with us for at least two years," Horner noted, "We should not forget that they designed a car that won a grand prix in 2008, in the hands of Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Toro Rosso, and there is no reason to believe we cannot do that again with these new rules.
"The regulation changes almost constitute a new formula for the sport and it will be interesting to see how the teams interpret them. Certainly, in the early part of this season, we expect to see a much bigger spread in terms of performance between the teams than we have over the past two years."
Horner, of course, now has Vettel onside rather than in opposition, with the young German having 'stepped up' from Toro Rosso to join Rd Bull's 'works' team alongside luckless veteran Mark Webber.