While at the ongoing Dubai Motor Show, we managed to collar Red Bull Racing‘s team principal Christian Horner for a quick chat ahead of the weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Here’s how it went.

C&P: Thanks for talking to us Christian. What brings you to the Dubai Motor Show?

CH: I’m here to unveil the Sebastian Vettel edition of the Infiniti FX. It’s a great car and I’m sure it’ll be very popular here.

C&P: Is this going to be the start of Red Bull Racing dabbling more in the road car segment with Infiniti?

CH: We have an ongoing relationship with Infiniti where we’re looking to utilise, and Infiniti are looking to benefit from, aspects of Formula 1 racing. This was a first project with Sebastian who was heavily involved with this vehicle in a very short period of time and based on the success of that we’re looking at rolling that out into other areas.

C&P: The main interest for you now is next year’s race car, so how’s that going?

CH: It’s busy at the moment. We’ve got four months to design and manufacture a brand new car and obviously we’ll be looking to incorporate the main elements out of the current RB7. There’s a few subtle regulation changes regarding mainly the exhausts so that changes the philosophy of the rear end of the car slightly as the so-called blown diffusers are now prohibited for next year. So it’s very busy back at the factory and we have a ridiculously short amount of time.

C&P: When did work start on it?

CH: Probably in earnest about a month and a half ago, simply because it will be very much an evolution of the current car so there’s no point starting too early if you haven’t fully understood a lot of the issues. We try to leave the design release as late as possible to encapsulate as many of the lessons that we’ve learned from the current car [as we can].

C&P: A large part of your success this year was down to the fact that you nailed the concept of the blown diffuser. Will the lack of that next year cause any headaches?

CH: The performance of our car this year wasn’t down to any silver bullet. It’s a combination of factors and for sure the prohibitation of exhaust blowing will have an effect on us, but it’ll have an equal effect on the likes of McLaren and Ferrari who are probably even more advanced in that area that we are at the moment. I think the net effect will be similar for all the teams; it’s a matter of who’s able to win back as much downforce as that blowing takes away over the winter and throughout next year.

C&P: Has the fact that you’ve sewn up the championships already made it easier to put all your attention on to next year’s car?

CH: It’s tremendously rewarding to get both championships out the way early and therefore yes, full focus of the entire factory has switched over on to RB8, whereas this time last year, when we were fighting right up to and including the last grand prix of the year,¬†development¬†went all the way up to that final race. So whatever we bring to the circuit now has already got half an eye on next year. We’ve got some developments this weekend in Abu Dhabi, we’ve got some more coming in Brazil primarily to look at track testing during the limited amount of track running that we have left before the end of the year.

C&P: So this is not necessarily looking at the outright performance of the RB7?

CH: No, we have an eye on the future. We have a young driver test as well in Abu Dhabi next week where part of the young driver’s responsibility will be evaluating different components.

C&P: How do you think DRS and KERS this year will make a difference in Abu Dhabi this weekend, after a fairly processional race in 2010?

CH: I feel it’s going to make a big difference this year. They’re such long straights and that second sector, it’s always surprised me that there’s not been more overtaking here and I think with the benefit of DRS and the KERS it’s going to change the dynamics of the race quite dramatically. We could be set for a thriller here in Abu Dhabi.

C&P: Confident of a similar result to last year?

CH: We’d love to repeat the result of last year and the year before too. We’re unbeaten so far in Abu Dhabi; we’d love to make it a hat trick in 2011.

Phill Tromans has been a professional writer since 2001 and has specialised in motoring since 2005. After three years working in the UK he has worked for various titles in the Middle East, focusing on new cars and the industry, as well as motorsport. He also has a sweet collection of sneakers.

Phill Tromans

Comments