Red Bull secured the Constructors' Championship at the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday - not that you would necessarily have known it after the race
Third straight title success - but the job isn't done yet
By Mike Wise in Austin. Last Updated: 19/11/12 3:24pm
Red Bull secured the Constructors' Championship at the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday - not that you would necessarily have known it after the race.
Hunkering down with the press in the team's hospitality suite, Christian Horner spent more time discussing Sebastian Vettel's battle with race winner Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber's alternator failure than he did their third straight title success.
The muted reaction may have something to do with the Constructors' Championship being seen as a poor relation to the driver' title; for the majority of people, F1 is more about drivers than cars.
It was a notion borne out as the Team Principal spoke: McLaren were celebrating Hamilton's win next door and their cheers drowned him out on occasion. Horner was, at least, given a pat on the back by Bernie Ecclestone.
By the sounds of it, celebrations were planned for downtown Austin on Sunday evening. But they would have to be brief because the job is not yet done: Red Bull still have a drivers' title to fight for. That's the important one, isn't it?
Yet the chance to cut loose for a few hours would be more than well-deserved. After all, the team have come a long way in a short time.
Rising from the ashes of the Jaguar (formerly Stewart) team in 2005, Red Bull spent four seasons fighting their way out of the midfield before becoming world beaters.
That was then, this is now. "To have won a third consecutive Constructors' is something we only could have dreamed about a few years ago," said Horner, when the subject was finally raised.
"To achieve what we have in 2010, 2011 and 2012 against the opponents that we have in only our eighth year in the sport, is something that's quite remarkable.
"I think that it's testimony to the long hours, the dedication and determination that there is within the team that we've managed to achieve this. And it's something that every member of the team is fiercely proud of."
It was the arrival of designer Adrian Newey that has, more than anything, helped turn Red Bull around. Second in the constructors' title to Brawn GP in 2009, their dominance since then was confirmed once more this weekend.
"To achieve a hat-trick is very special. I was lucky enough to achieve that at Williams and to achieve three firsts with Red Bull over the last four years is a great tribute to everybody in the team," said Newey, who also won a title with McLaren.
Although there is a clear lineage in the series of cars Newey has overseen, he admitted that this year's success has been the most difficult given the clampdown on exhaust-blown diffusers.
It's a technology Red Bull have pushed more than any other team but, as Newey explained, it also meant they had the most to lose when the rules were changed.
"Last year's was obviously the easiest and in 2010 we had a lot of silly points losses at the start of the year, from reliability, driver mistakes and so forth," he said.
"That car had very good pace. This year, pace-wise, it's been very close through the year. We struggled a bit at the start of the year; in the mid-season, probably more than anything, (we had) to understand the car and get it to work properly.
"It sort of bore out my pre-season fear that, having been on the side of exhausts for two years and really developed the car - the philosophy of the car - around that technology.
"We had that taken away a bit over the winter. That was probably a bigger step back for us than other people."
Although Vettel's second place, coupled with another podium finish for title rival Fernando Alonso, meant that Red Bull could not secure yet another double success this weekend, he remains favourite to retain the drivers' crown for a third straight year at Interlagos.
"We now head to Brazil with a 13-point lead and still everything to play for. As I've said all season, I think this Championship will go to Brazil; unfortunately, I've been proved right today," mused Horner.
"I think we can afford ourselves one night of celebration," added Newey. "But with the drivers' still in the balance and only a week away, we can't afford to get too obliterated tonight."