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F1 | Christian Horner – “we need to be strong next year.”

We are getting closer by an inch every day to the commencement of the Formula One 2021 season. Not only that, all the ten teams will reveal their sophisticated racing machines soon. While the media and fans await the launching events, there are teams who are already thinking of a distant future. Christian Horner and his Red Bull Racing is one of them.

Recently, Red Bull announced the dates for their launching event. On 23 February, next week, the Milton Keynes-based sporting team will reveal its RB16B. It carries the prefix ‘B’ as most of its attributes have been taken from the previous year’s RB16 into this season’s car.

Christian Horner, the team principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, will be having a challenging season this year. He is well aware of the capable driver’s market. It might impose a threat if Mercedes chooses to steal Max Verstappen in the following season. 

It is not surprising to see Horner stuck in complications. After all, he has been in this position since 2005. Winning eight world titles proves his qualification for holding onto the post. 

 Last year, Red Bull was second in Constructor Standings. Moreover, they secured only two wins throughout the season of seventeen races.

The first win came at the 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone and another in the season-closing Abu Dhabi GP.

Factors that will shape the distant Future for Christian Horner’s Red Bull Team

After AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, as well as Alex Albon, lost their respective seat. This season, Sergio Perez will fill one driving seat of Red Bull. This new pair of the 23-year-old Dutch and the 31-year-old Mexican will carry the responsibilities on their shoulder to close the gap with Mercedes.

Along with that, Red Bull has made the arrangements to use Honda’s power units from 2022 to 2025. They will be using the Japanese manufacturer’s engine technology beyond their involvement in F1, which terminates in 2021.

“We will inherit the vast majority of HRD [Honda Racing Development] the UK, which is the operational side of Honda based in Milton Keynes.” Horner said to reporters after Honda’s announcement to leave.

“That gives us a standing start that already all the people that we already know and interface with we’ll look to take under the new company. We are in the process of setting out some of the other roles that will be filled over the next coming weeks and months.” he added, giving the hint about his plans to build in house Formula One Engine.

“But I think the agreement that we’ve achieved with Honda just buys us time to assemble the right group of people,” Horner said. 

After being asked specifically about the intention of Red Bull building their own engine department in the future, he said:  

“It needs to be a long-term view. Obviously, the investment into the facilities to gear up for this is quite significant. So you’ve got both a short-term scenario of the existing regulations and then, of course, whatever the new regulations are, we need to be in a position to obviously take that on as well,”

“Strategically this is a big commitment by the group. It shows their commitment to Formula 1 as well – to bring it on-site, on-campus here in Milton Keynes is an enormous undertaking,” Horner continued. 

“And one that truly integrates the power unit into the chassis. I think that really we have taken control of our own destiny and that respect of integrating your power unit with chassis,” he added.

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner and Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The team boss might even consider a new engine partner if such a scenario arises. 

“We won’t be beholden upon having a partner, so we’ve got the independence to do it ourselves. If an exciting partner comes along then of course it makes sense to look at it very seriously–whether that be an OEM or another type of partner, a battery manufacturer or whatever. It really depends what the regulations are,” Horner said.

What if Mercedes, by the end of the 2021 season, tries hard to approach Max Verstappen to replace Hamilton? That will be another warning sign Horner has to monitor.

“I’m sure that should Lewis decide to stop then Max will naturally be the driver at the top of Mercedes’ list,” said Horner, when media asked about the possibility.

“They also have George Russell and other drivers available to them.”

The reality is that yes, of course – as there has always been – an element of performance-related clauses to Max’s contract. But as with all these things, it’s not about forcing a driver that doesn’t want to be there.” he added.

“It’s more about relationships than contracts and you only pull a contract out of the drawer when you have a problem, in my experience.”

“The relationship with Max is very strong, he believes in the project, in what we are doing, and he sees the investment Red Bull are making.”

“I’m confident we won’t need to refer to any contractual clauses. It will be down to us to deliver a competitive car.” he summed up.

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11 . Sergio Perez of Mexico with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner at Red Bull Racing Factory on January 11, 2021 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“We’ve improved the car significantly” Christian Horner believes.

Christian Horner’s Red Bull fell short of expectations last season. They were expected to be title contenders. However, they could only manage to reach a score of 319 while the reigning champions Mercedes bore the score of 573. Often spinning off the track while pushing the limits, Red Bull was behind for the title race throughout the season. The very unpredictable nature of last year’s Red Bull Machine made it hard to drive sometimes. It will be interesting how the management and the engineers make amendments this year.

I think we’ve understood what those issues are, and I think that, hopefully, that can be further addressed as we go into next year.”

Christian Horner expressed his views to the media.

“We need a car that performs at a whole variety of circuits, which Mercedes have been very good at producing,” added Horner. 

“That’s where we need to be strong next year.”

“We’ve got to be strong on all types of circuit, particularly with a 23 race calendar.”

“But I think that particularly at a circuit like Abu Dhabi, to take that kind of performance into the winter is very, very encouraging.”

Well, how this new machine will behave? How efficiently will the Verstappen and Perez duo work? Will this car be more stable or less with the new aerodynamic changes? It will be of sheer interest to see how their performance on the sheet pans out as the 2021 season starts.

Read More: Christian Horner ‘Worries’ that in the absence of a ‘compensation mechanism’ , Engine development Freeze could prove ‘Detrimental’ for every F1 team !

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