Christian Horner has conceded that now the euphoria of Red Bull Racing's double title success in F1 2010 is finally beginning to subside, it is time to turn attentions towards what he describes as the team's 'next big challenge' – remaining at the top of the tree at the pinnacle of international four-wheeled motorsport.
Having brought a six-year quest to a successful conclusion in the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month by clinching the coveted constructors' crown in the top flight courtesy of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's resounding one-two finish at Interlagos, Red Bull added to that with the drivers' honours for the German in last weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, following a sublime performance from the man who has now become the sport's youngest-ever world champion aged just 23.
Following almost a week of well-deserved celebrations in Austria and the UK, however – with team members finding themselves routinely greeted by effusive standing ovations – the energy drinks-backed outfit's team principal Horner insists now is no time to be resting on laurels.
“I have to congratulate both drivers, as well as the whole team,” underlined the 37-year-old Englishman, a former racer himself. “We have overcome all the problems we experienced and pushed each other to the limit. We were able to keep top teams such as Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes in-check and will work hard on keeping it that way in the future. This is the next big challenge for the whole team.
“It's been an outstanding season for Red Bull Racing. We have met our two big targets after only six seasons, and we will enjoy this success for a couple of days before we start to build on this result and get ready for new challenges in 2011.”
“After six years of hard work in Milton Keynes we have reached the target,” concurred RBR chief technical officer Adrian Newey, reflecting on a season that yielded no fewer than nine grand prix victories, four one-two finishes, 20 podiums and a staggering 15 pole positions. “The package was excellent – the drivers, team and cars worked well as a unit. For 2011, we need to further perfect this, in order to defend these championships.”
As to Webber, meanwhile, now that the popular Aussie has had some time to mull over a campaign in which he came so tantalisingly close but in the end so agonisingly far from claiming the drivers' trophy for his own, he admitted that it had been a character-building year in so many aspects, but one that has ultimately served to galvanise the team into an even stronger proposition heading into 2011.
“The constructors' championship was very important for Red Bull, and shows that this season has bound the team together,” the 34-year-old affirmed. “We can all be very proud of what we have achieved. I just missed my personal target, but there were many highlights and the next season starts soon.
“It's not always been easy for either of us (him or Vettel) during the year, but this is normal when you're competing against each other at this level. We both wanted to become world champion and therefore we pushed the whole team to perfection. At the end of the season, we are honestly able to show respect for each other's performance, which is very important. Congratulations to Sebastian – he really deserves the title.”