Christian Horner Q&A
Team Principal admits it will be tough for Sebastian Vettel to win again
By William Esler. Last Updated: 19/02/13 4:55pm
Horner set for competitive season
After the first morning of running at the Circuit de Catalunya, Sky Sports News' Craig Slater caught up with Christian Horner during the lunch break to discuss all things F1.
Q: Will the start of the 2013 season be as competitive as 2012 was?
Christian Horner: "I think it will be - all the signs at the moment are that it is very tight and all the usual culprits look like they will be there. It is so difficult to read testing times as everyone is running to their own agendas, but what you can see is that by the time we get to Melbourne it is going to be very, very close."
What is this middle test particularly about?
CH: "We are learning more about the car and there are a lot of components we want to try out and learn more about the RB9. We will be doing pit-stop work to blow away the winter cobwebs as well. Every opportunity you get to run on track you have to capitalise on - these four days here are vital in our preparations for the first race."
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Is there more pressure now on your rivals after the triple double? How do you keep yourselves hungry?
CH: "The bottom line is we just need to keep doing what we are doing. We put the pressure on ourselves to perform and deliver and the team is extremely motivated and extremely hungry to maintain the run of success we have had in the last few years. There is a great determination in the team to defend both of these titles we have had in the last few years."
Is it harder for Sebastian Vettel to win a fourth straight title than it was for Michael Schumacher, given the competition we have at the moment?
CH: "Things are different these days - we have the same tyres, testing is limited - it is a much more constricted set of regulations than in Michael's time. It is going to be massively tough - it is a healthy period for Formula 1 and the quality of drivers is simply superb at the moment - and for Sebastian to have achieved three world titles already is something remarkable. But he is going to keep pushing very hard to maintain that title for another year."
Adrian Newey has said he will only be able to add little bits to the car throughout the year - does that excite him as much as perhaps the 2014 car? How are you going to split his time over the course of this year?
CH: "Well it is a matter of balancing all of the resources across all of the company and of course 2014 is a big change and already the designers have half an eye on that. But we have 2013 to deal with and to develop this car all the way to the end of the year. 2014 is a significant regulation changes after a period of stability in the rules so we are getting into diminutive returns on the current car so the devil really is in the detail on the current car whilst looking at blue-sky technologies and development for the 2014 car."
Rory Byrne has returned to Ferrari, has that been of interest to Adrian in particular?
CH: "I don't know, we have not talked about it. Rory has obviously achieved a lot in his career. He has been in and around Ferrari for a long time so we certainly which him the best of luck there."
After the mornings running, the top three on the timesheets are Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Come the end of the season, do you expect those three to be fighting it out for the title?
CH: "I'm sure they will all be there somewhere along the way. So it will be a tough, tight year - you have Jenson (Button) in the McLaren, Lewis (Hamilton) in the Mercedes, you have our drivers, Fernando for sure, Felipe (Massa), the pace he had at the end of last season was very impressive. So I think it is going to be very, very close."