Adrian Newey has paid tribute to the 'leadership' of Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner for having played a pivotal role in the transformation of the Milton Keynes-based squad from an F1 also-ran back in 2005 into double world champions in 2010 – contending that 'the team is really unrecognisable now from where we first started'.
Red Bull crowned what has been a magnificent campaign when Sebastian Vettel lifted the drivers' laurels in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale just over a week ago, adding to the constructors' honours that had already been sewn up a week earlier still in Brazil – not bad, mused Horner, for 'a team that no-one took seriously [six years ago], that everyone thought was a party team' [see separate story – click here
Newey – whose dominant RB6 design most credit with RBR's tremendous success story in F1 2010, and a man who has also achieved world championship glory at McLaren-Mercedes and Williams in the past – argues that his fellow Englishman must similarly be recognised for his key contribution.
“I've been fortunate enough to have good success at two great teams in Williams and McLaren,” the 51-year-old mused, “but they had won championships already, so when I joined my job was really a design task, because the infrastructure already existed. The attraction in coming to Red Bull was to be involved with the team right from the start, to be involved with Christian, Dietrich [Mateschitz], Helmut [Marko] and everybody else and to help to develop the team in a way that we thought would hopefully bring us to this point.
“The team is really unrecognisable now from where we first started; Christian's leadership has been a great part of that and has made my job a lot easier, because I've been able to concentrate on developing the technical infrastructure. It really is amazing to have actually achieved that – we can all dream of these things and set out that target of winning the championship, but it's one thing to dream and it's another to achieve it. For all of us, it's been incredible.”
Horner, for his part, re-iterated that his much-maligned strategy of providing both Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber with the opportunity to take the title in Abu Dhabi was the right one. As circumstances transpired at Yas Marina, had Red Bull placed all of its eggs in the Australian's basket at Interlagos – as many at the time reckoned they should have done – then the likelihood is that both men would have ended up missing out on the drivers' trophy in the UAE.
“I think the great thing about Red Bull is that we've gone racing in the Red Bull spirit,” affirmed the 37-year-old, a former racer himself. “We've backed two great athletes, we've given them both an equal chance, we've given them equal equipment, we've let them race each other and ultimately, what's happened on-track has dictated the outcome of this championship.
“They've both had great years, they've had their ups-and-downs, but ultimately they both went into Abu Dhabi with a chance of winning the world championship. Obviously it was a fantastic day for Sebastian, and the whole team are very, very proud of what he's done – but we're equally proud of the year Mark has had and we know he'll come back stronger again next year.”