Although neither has clinched a second successive F1 world championship just yet, it appears only a matter of time before Christian Horner's Red Bull
Racing and lead driver Sebastian Vettel
are crowned as repeat title winners in 2011.
With Vettel needing just a single point from the remaining five races, and RBR 138 points clear of nearest rival McLaren, it would appear to be something of a foregone conclusion that both trophies will be making their way back to Milton Keynes after December's FIA prize-giving - and that, according to F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, puts the Horner-Vettel pairing into pretty exalted company.
With the likes of Ron Dennis (with Ayrton Senna at McLaren), Flavio Briatore (with Fernando Alonso
at Renault) and Jean Todt (repeatedly with Michael Schumacher at Ferrari) among the few team principals to have repeated as champions in both the driver and constructor standings, Horner and Vettel will be in good company if they achieve their 2001 goals over the coming weeks.
"These names show that it is not that easy - Christian and Sebastian are walking in big shoes," Ecclestone told the official F1 website during a joint interview with the RBR boss, "Look at your competitors.... [You don't beat] Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes without luck, but the fact is that Red Bull
Racing also did a super job."
Both Ecclestone and Horner are responsible for turning ailing teams into championship winners - the former with Brabham, Horner with Jaguar - but the poacher turned gamekeeper admits that he had one extra advantage up his sleeve in the days where the rulebook was not quite so tightly policed.
"Good people - good designers, team managers and drivers," Ecclestone claimed were the key to success, "but, back then, at the times of Brabham, I had a significant advantage, [as] we were the masters of cheating and never got caught. That's not possible nowadays! Today, it is all about who's interpreting the rules best. That means staying within the rules, but thinking outside of the box because the control mechanisms are too tight to take a risk."
After joking about what RBR might have achieved with a decent team principal, Ecclestone pointed to Horner's relationship with team owner Dietrich Mateschitz as another key to success.
"I don't think that Didi is stepping on Christian's toes," he noted, "Seriously, Christian is doing a super job and Didi is not the kind of idiot to interfere. Don't forget that Brabham had 70 people, and the effort of running 70 people is significantly smaller than running 500. With Adrian Newey, they obviously have a design whiz, but it also has something to do with the mentality of the whole team. Everybody there desperately wants to win - and win more. They are true to the motto 'show me a happy loser and I'll show you a loser'."
Ecclestone has long been a fan of Vettel too and, along with Horner, believes that there is still a lot more to come from the young German.