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Upbeat Horner Hails Red Bull's "Most Impressive Winter" as Former Champions Aim to Bounce Back

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Upbeat Horner Hails Red Bull's "Most Impressive Winter" as Former Champions Aim to Bounce Back
Jan 27, 2015, 6:05 PM

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has declared his squad's pre-season preparations as the best in the ten-year history of the team.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has declared his squad's pre-season preparations as the best in the ten-year history of the team.

Speaking at the Red Bull Racing Driver Day at Sno Zone Milton Keynes today, Horner paid tribute to the collective efforts of his team in making it an altogether smoother winter off season than last year's troubled introduction of the Renault powered RB10.

Rules stability for this year has meant that this year's car, which will be seen on track for the first time at the first pre-season test which begins in Jerez on Sunday, is very much an evolution of last year's machine.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Italian Grand Prix - Preparation Day - Monza, Italy

This year's car is still being assembled at the team's factory in Milton Keynes and despite the tight deadline in getting the car prepared for the weekend, Horner praised his squad for hitting all their production deadlines so far.

"The car's flat out into car build at the moment . [It's] probably the shortest production and assembly time in our previous ten seasons so it's unbelievable what the factory have turned around so far."

"Certainly the first test last year... hopefully this one can't be any worse than that. I think  we managed about four laps over four days and the car would either stop on track or [go] on fire so hopefully we've made progress from that point and I think it's been a far more positive winter compared to last year."

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Abu Dhabi Test - Day Two - Abu Dhabi, UAE

According to Horner, the biggest challenge for the engineers has been producing a nose to suit the new regulations for that area of the car and, for engine supplier Renault, in developing their power unit so that four engines will last a full 20-race season.

"The chassis is very much an evolution. The biggest visible thing you'll see across the different cars is the nose regulations and they've been quite challenging, I think, for all the teams from what I gather from  a crash test point of view.

"Obviously the engine has been a lot of focus and I think with the new regulations with tokens being able to be spent from now through the year you've got to look strategically at what upgrades you're going to introduce in which engine.

"Sitting here now it's difficult to envisage doing a full season on four engines, twenty races on four engines but you know, it's not impossible. It's the same challenge for everybody.

"Last year we obviously took an additional engine with Sebastian but I hope it doesn't have an effect on Friday running, you know, that people conserve mileage not to put mileage on their four units at the expense of Friday so hopefully that won't be... I think you're better off taking an aggressive approach and if you end up using the fifth engine you've got to go for it.

Design chief Adrian Newey has had a reduced role on the new car but Horner is quick to emphasise the influence he has had on the machine.

"Adrian's had a bit less input but he's still very much the architect of this car. He'll be at the tests, he's splitting his time now around fifty/fifty but 50% of Adrian's time is quite significant.

"He's certainly being paying a lot of attention to what's been going on with the engine as well.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Spanish Grand Prix - Race Day - Barcelona, Spain

Four time world champion Sebastian Vettel may have departed for Ferrari but Horner is confident he has one of the most exciting driver pairings on the grid. In Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull has, he says, "a really fast, determined, intelligent driver.

"Sure, he's a little bit rough around the edges. He's only done 19 Grands Prix but his commitment, his speed, his application are excellent and I envisage there'll be the odd mistake here and there but that's natural in a young driver on the trajectory that he's on but I really think he can be the surprise of this year in the same way that Daniel was last year.

"He has all the right attributes to do some really fantastic things this year.

As for three time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo, the expectation level has risen after 2014 but Horner has detected no let up in the Aussie's motivation.

"On paper he went up against the best in the world and he came out on top so I think for him, his confidence, you could see it grow during last year. I think his campaign last year was superb and his confidence just grew and grew and grew.

"Obviously expectation is going to be different for him this year. He's no longer the underdog he's an established Grand Prix winner and the expectation will be different but I don't see any change in his attitude or approach and hopefully he'll take off where he left off in Abu Dhabi last year.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo Shop Now
Teams Red Bull Racing Shop Now