Christian Horner OBE
- Leamington Spa, UK
- Date of birth
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
It may sound trite but Formula One is a fast-moving sport – in every aspect. Not just in the micro-seconds that teams furiously chase in the quest for on-track superiority but also off-track, in the battle to build and maintain the best squad, to best exploit the potential that lies within that team and to direct that effort towards victory. For the past 10 seasons that task has fallen to Team Principal Christian Horner and over our first decade of racing the boss made…
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
It may sound trite but Formula One is a fast-moving sport – in every aspect. Not just in the micro-seconds that teams furiously chase in the quest for on-track superiority but also off-track, in the battle to build and maintain the best squad, to best exploit the potential that lies within that team and to direct that effort towards victory. For the past 10 seasons that task has fallen to Team Principal Christian Horner and over our first decade of racing the boss made it his goal to assiduously put together a team of like-minded, hard-working and passionately committed designers, engineers, fabricators, mechanics, and racers to take what, in 2005, was a struggling mid-ranking F1 outfit to the very top of the sport.
For Horner, the process is deceptively simple. "It's all about empowerment," he insists. "You hire people you think are the very best at what they do and you have to trust them to do that job to the best of their ability. If people are invested in what they do, in their contribution to building something then the rewards will come."
The Team Principal's belief in people power harks all the way back to his earliest days in motorsport – as a driver. In a promising junior series career that took him through stints in Formula Renault, British F3 and Formula Two, the future team boss learned that each cog in the racing machine, from driver to race engineer to mechanic, is an integral part of any success.
It was a lesson learned in even greater depth when he stepped up to the International FIA F3000 series. There he not only raced, but did so for his own team, Arden International. And it was there, after stepping back from driving to concentrate on running the team that his belief in the power of putting the right people in the right place and giving them the freedom to deliver their best snapped into focus.
Over the next six seasons Horner built Arden into a racing powerhouse, with the young team owner guiding his squad to three Drivers' and Team Championships in succession. It was a remarkable record that brought him to the attention of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, and when the drinks company took the radical step of setting up its own Formula One team for the 2005 season, it turned to Horner to run the operation.
Risky as the move seemed, the first-time F1 team principal grabbed the opportunity to apply the lessons learned in the junior formulae and Horner set about reinvigorating each department of the struggling team he had inherited.
The recruitment of Adrian Newey as chief technical officer was the most obvious coup, but the policy of placing the right people in the right positions was applied across the team, and over the course of four seasons the team began to coalesce into a force capable of challenging for major honours.
The first came in 2009, with the team taking it's first win, and it's first 1-2 victory, at the Chinese Grand Prix. From there the floodgates opened. Six wins and second place in the Constructors' Championship in 2009 became nine victories and Team and Drivers' title winners in 2010. Three more double crowns followed over the next three campaigns, putting the team in an exclusive club of just three teams to take four or more constructors' titles consecutively.
The 2014 season, however, became a period of transition for the team as the sport underwent the most radical set of technical regulation changes seen for decades.A tricky start to the year saw the team battling for reliability but once again, Horner relied on the passion and commitment of the team at his disposal and marshaled the squad to a remarkable recovery, ending the season in second place in the constructors' championship and seeing new racing recruit Daniel Ricciardo score three outstanding grand prix wins.
The transition continues as Horner embarks on his second decade at the helm of the team. A new driver line-up will see Daniel Ricciardo partnered by the exciting young Russian Daniil Kvyat, who like Daniel is a product of the Red Bull Junior Programme.
Meanwhile, an evolving team structure will see continuity maintained by devolving more responsibility to the very designers and engineers brought into the squad as part of that people-powered rebuilding programme begun by the young Team Principal a decade ago.
The next phase of Infiniti Red Bull Racing's Formula One adventure is set to begin, but once again it will hold to the same ethos that brought such success of the first decade – giving power to the people.
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