On the eve of the race that this time twelve months ago saw Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber deliver one of the most commanding and comprehensive demonstrations of the season, Christian Horner has admitted that Red Bull Racing is 'pushing very hard' to achieve 'the only trophies' that still elude the team in F1.
The dominant, untouchable Silverstone one-two in 2009 was arguably the springboard for a resurgence over the second half of the campaign that saw RBR take the fight to season-long leaders Brawn GP and Jenson Button – and very nearly pip them to the laurels in the final reckoning.
Fast forward a year, and on the eve of the 2010 British Grand Prix, the Milton Keynes-based squad is again firmly installed as favourite to triumph, with the Adrian Newey-designed, Renault-powered RB6 predicted to be in its element around the sweeping, high-speed curves of the celebrated 'Home of British Motor Racing', and by setting the pace in opening practice, Vettel only served to underline that threat [see separate story – click here
Indeed, having emerged victorious in Valencia last time out around a circuit that had not been tipped to play to its car's strengths, Red Bull is now determined to decisively seize back the initiative from arch-rivals McLaren-Mercedes, who took advantage of the controversial and well-documented Istanbul collision between Vettel and Webber as the pair diced for the lead and RBR's somewhat under-par race day performance in Montreal to notch up back-to-back one-twos with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson button and snatch away the advantage in both the drivers' and constructors' title chases.
In the build-up to the European Grand Prix last month, McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe had perhaps ill-advisedly suggested that the Woking-based concern was less worried about Red Bull than it was Ferrari [see separate story – click here
] – but the outcome of the Spanish outing might have caused him to re-assess his view. Horner insists anybody would be a fool to underestimate his team's chances over the remaining ten races – but by the same token, the Englishman affirms, he is not underestimating any of the opposition either.
“The atmosphere in the team is very good, very upbeat,” the 36-year-old – a former racer himself – told Crash.net Radio
on the eve of the 2010 British Grand Prix, the team's home race. “Seb and Mark have a professional relationship and they work together very well. Istanbul was a very unfortunate incident, and both I'm sure will never fully agree on who was at fault – but that's irrelevant now. It's all about moving forward and making sure we score as many points as we can over the remaining ten races.
“In Canada, we qualified on the hard tyre and we were only a tenth off getting the pole. We were unfortunate in Montreal, because it could have worked out so differently if [Nico] Hülkenberg, [Vitaly] Petrov and [Kamui] Kobayashi hadn't gone off on the first lap. They had all started on the hard tyre and the soft tyre [front] runners were supposed to emerge behind them [after their pit-stops], but fourth and fifth was still very good points for us at a track that we'd never expected great things from.
“Valencia was also a track where we didn't expect to be as competitive as we were. It was a result that went against our expectations, but it was a very welcome result at a track that we didn't believe would fully suit us. It was a very strong drive by Sebastian, but probably the biggest result of the weekend was that Mark emerged unscathed from a very nasty-looking accident, which we were all very relieved to see.
“We introduced some upgrades that helped, with the F-duct and so on – the guys have been pushing very hard at every race this year – and hopefully we've got a few circuits coming up, including Silverstone, that should really suit our car. It's great to race in front of so many members of the factory and in front of a British crowd, and it was a very special atmosphere [in 2009] being what was expected to be the last British Grand Prix – the place was absolutely packed. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of support for Lewis and Jenson, but hopefully there will be quite a few people backing the Red Bulls as well.