F1 | Horner on Binotto: "In all fairness to Mattia, he did a very good job in producing a very competitive car and engine."
Ahead of the 2022 FIA Prize Giving in Bologna, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner reflected on the work of Mattia Binotto, a key event of the season and paid tribute to all those working back at the factory in Milton Keynes.
Red Bull Racing broke their own records in 2022. 17 victories, five 1’2 finishes, 15 victories of which were won by back-to-back F1 Drivers’ Champion Max Verstappen. In Bologna, ahead of the 2022 FIA Prize Giving, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner reflected on a ‘phenomenal’ season.
In the hours before the glitz and glamour of the 2022 FIA Prize Giving in Bologna came the FIA Press Conference hosted by the familiar face of Tom Clarkson. The remarks were streamed across the web and Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner was sat alongside his drivers max Verstappen and Sergio Perez as well as FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Horner took the opportunity to reflect on a key event of the season – Imola – and praise all those back at Milton Keynes.
“It’s very, very special, the season that we’ve had, the statistics you just read out. You know, we’ve broken all our own records. I mean these two guys have been truly amazing this year. In particular, Max has had an outstanding season and I think the effort that has gone in behind the scenes, the biggest regulation change in 40 years and the whole team in Milton Keynes just rose to that challenge magnificently.
“To have achieved those 17 race wins, two sprint race victories out of the three, five 1’2 finishes 759 points. I didn’t realise how much we had to pay the FIA for the points. I got the bill the other day, it was incredible. So, it’s been incredible and for the first time to pick up the trophy from Mohammed. I picked the first trophy up from Jean Todt in his first year of Presidency so it’s fantastic to be picking the trophy up tonight from our new President.” Horner said.
The conversation then shifted to how his team had achieved the feat of a double championship, particularly after such a tough start with Scuderia Ferrari’s early season dominance.
“They [Ferrari] had a faster car than us in the early part of the season. I think that we were able to stay in touch and that was very, very important. Particularly after, I mean, our championship was 21 races because we missed the first one by having a double DNF but we had to stick with them.” Horner claimed.
Following this, the man who led Red Bull Racing to their first F1 Constructors’ Championship since 2014 expanded on what he felt was a big turning point of the season. “For me, one of the crucial weekends was Imola with the sprint race and then the victory and to win both those races, to achieve the 1’2 finish and to beat Ferrari on their home ground was, you know I think, psychologically a big thing for us as a team – potentially for them as well. Then as we developed the car, we improved the car and we lost a little bit of weight – well the car did – then the speed came and I mean these guys have been just fantastic this year.” praised Horner to his drivers sat to the left of him.
As always, one team’s success means failure for another and Mattia Binotto’s decision to leave Scuderia Ferrari was not a shock in the media. Toto Wolff was quoted to Horner as having said Binotto lasted longer than he thought he would at Ferrari. So, what were Horner’s thoughts on the matter?
In all fairness to Mattia, he did a very good job in producing a very competitive car and engine for Ferrari, certainly this year. Now, obviously they had their moments operationally. He committed a long period of his career and life to Ferrari and I’m sure it must be very difficult for him to leave that team after all of that time. So, of course a huge pressure in that team because it’s a national team effectively as well as an OEM team. It will now be the 6th team principal that I will sit across the table from since I’ve been at Red bull. Obviously, a lot of pressure on that job.
Several hours later as the 2022 FIA Prize Giving drew to a close, Christian Horner was on stage to collect the F1 Constructors’ Championship trophy and stated:
“It’s been the most incredible year for the team. 9 years there’s been one manufacturer on this trophy. So, the team has done a truly outstanding job. Max Verstappen has been magnificent this year and we’ve broken every record of our own…and the spirit in which the team has done it has been phenomenal.” Horner then dedicated the trophy to Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz describing him as a man who ‘has done for more for motorsport than any other person in history.’
Red Bull Racing took the F1 bull by the horns in 2022 so it may not be long before a seventh Scuderia Ferrari team principal is sat across the table from Christian Horner. The legacy left behind by Dieter Mateschitz is clear to see and Red Bull Racing are poised to dominate for many more years to come.