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Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says F1 Season to Go to Wire

Oct. 4 – Yokohama – Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner is visiting Japan for his team’s Formula 1 race at Suzuka this weekend, also announcing a logistical support arrangement with Nissan at the company’s headquarters.

Horner, in an interview with the Global Media Center’s Roland Buerk on Thursday, predicted the F1 driver’s title will go down to the final Grand Prix race of the season.

Q1. Red Bull has broad relationships with Infiniti and Nissan is now providing light commercial vehicles as logistical support. How do those relationships help the team?

Christian Horner

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner signs the guest book at Nissan Global Media Center

Well, (they are) crucial relationships for us. We entered a partnership with Infiniti last year, and not only from a marketing perspective, but also from a technical perspective, with some of the development and advanced technologies that Infiniti through Nissan have been able to open up Pandora’s box for us.

We’ve had collaborations on the KERS system on the car, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, where we’ve been co-developing batteries with Infiniti, and then, with Nissan Light Commercial Vehicles. Of course, moving components and vehicles around the world is a big challenge. Through the relationship with Nissan LCV, it’s greatly assisted us with those challenges.

Q2: You’re here for the Suzuka Grand Prix. It’s often been an historical, significant race in the F1 calendar, and a successful one for Red Bull. What do you expect this weekend?

Horner

I think it’s going to be incredibly tight. It’s a track that the drivers certainly love. It’s a big challenge. It’s a fast and flowing track with some very high speed corners. It’s a circuit we’ve had success at in the past. We won in 2009, 2010.

We were third and won the World Championship here with Sebastian Vettel twelve months ago. This year the championship is very close. We need to beat Alonso. We need to reduce the deficit in points. Hopefully it’ll be a dry weekend. There’s always a threat of rain not too far away, but hopefully it is a circuit we can run well at.

Q3: Red Bull is in front on Constructors’ points, but driver and team success has been a bit more varied. Why is that?

Horner

Christian Horner being interviewed at the Nissan Global Media Center

Well, there was some significant regulation changes over the winter, to the front wing and the exhaust blown diffuser (that) was very much clamped down on. That had a significant effect on our performance. Perhaps we had extracted more out of those areas than other teams. So we had to go back to the drawing board a bit, but we’ve been recouping performance.

We’ve won four Grand Prix so far this year. We won the last time out in Singapore. We’re leading the Constructors’ championship. We’ve had a bit of bad luck with some engine reliability issues, leading races in Valencia and having to retire. So 29 points behind Fernando (Alonso) in the Drivers’ is not that far. It’s 25 points for a win, 150 still available from the remaining six races. So anything is absolutely possible.

Q4: So, all still to play for?

Horner

Absolutely. I think this championship will go all the way down to the wire at the final race. It would be wrong to count out other drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Jensen Button, Mark Webber. They all stand a chance.

Fernando (Alonso) has had tremendous consistency. He’s had a bit of luck as well, but you need to create your own luck in many instances, and he’s the man to beat. Sebastian’s his closest rival at the moment, and we’re determined to try to reduce that gap further this weekend at Suzuka.

Q5: Any team principal would be pleased to have Sebastian and Mark as their drivers. How do those drivers push each other, and you as a team?

Horner

Christian Horner during a press conference at Nissan Global Headquarters

Well, firstly they drive the car in a very similar manner and that’s important for the development of the car. They push each other very hard. Mark Webber is a very fast and gifted racing driver, and he’s had a stern challenge with Sebastian Vettel, the double world champion, being in the car alongside him.

But they push each other hard, they get the most out of each other, and in turn that pushes the team in our striving to develop the car and get performance to the car. So, they’re an ideal line up in many respects. They’ve been together for four seasons and that partnership will extend into next year as well.

 

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