“There Was a Look of Shock” – Horner Details Rocky Start to Red Bull Career

Published 06/02/2021, 12:04 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 20, 2021 Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


Back in 2005, the Jaguar F1 team was on its way out of Formula One. Then, Red Bull decided to step in and take the British marquee’s place on the grid. At the same time, 31-year-old Christian Horner took over as the youngest team principal in F1. The Briton confessed that the energy drinks manufacturer were quite ‘shocked’ at the development.

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He admitted that he felt like a “kid” when he first entered the Milton Keynes factory. Horner was so out of his depth that he relied on support from his fellow crew members. He also depended on the expertise of veteran Formula One driver David Coulthard who moved over from McLaren.

NUERBURG, GERMANY – Alexander Albon of Thailand and Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talk in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Horner said. “There was a a look of shock as I looked out at the sea of faces, thinking, ‘who’s this kid that they’ve employed’ so I went back to my office and I had a secretary in tears because her previous boss had just been fired. I’ve got his Christmas cards on the desk, his coffee cup half drunk, and it was like, ‘okay, so this is the stuff’.

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What led to Red Bull hiring Christian Horner?

According to him, many of the factory personnel were quite upset. This was likely because they had established a rapport with the old team principal and did not trust the newcomer.

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Admittedly, Horner was not a novice when it came to being a team principal. As it turns out, he led his team to a Formula 3000 Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship. He revealed that he relied on his Formula 3000 knowledge to try and work in his new role in F1.

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2021 Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner celebrates after the race Pool via REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Since then, this gamble seems to have paid off handsomely. He and Sebastian Vettel stormed to four consecutive Formula One Driver’s and Constructor’s titles. Now, he is working with Dutch star, Max Verstappen and Mexican driver Sergio Perez. Ahead of this weekend’s race in Azerbaijan, Red Bull and Verstappen are leading the championship for the first time.

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Dhruv George

11666 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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