SEPTEMBER 13, 2011
Christian Horner reflects on Monza
What does it feel like for Red Bull to have won Monza?
It was an unbelievable day. Fernando Alonso had an awesome start and looked like he was only ever going to be the leader out of the first chicane. Sebastian was already pressuring him before the Safety Car. For anyone who doubted whether he could overtake, I think he demonstrated it very clearly with that very brave move on Fernando with two wheel on the grass. Then he got his head down and had tremendous pace. Obviously there had been a bit of debate about gear ratios and so on, but we got it absolutely spot and it was a very well executed race strategy wise, pit stop wise and from Sebastian himself.
Did you worry that the ratio choice might put you on the back foot?
We felt that the hit was potentially in qualifying when you could use the DRS all the time, whereas for the race we were better placed. That ultimately proved to be the case. We dropped behind Fernando, who was really quick on the straight, and still managed to make it work. I think it was absolutely the right thing to do in the end.
How significant for the team is winning Spa and Monza?
A lot of effort went into it. All the teams turn up at Monza with their low downforce package and ours seemed to be a bit more lower downforce than some of the others. But the engineering and production guys all did their bit and we had a tremendous car all weekend. I think we got our homework right. We got the right balance of straightline speed, the gearing ultimately proved to be right and it's massively rewarding to win two races which on paper should have been our weakest.
The strategy was quite an aggressive one. Did your strong position in the championship influence that?
Not really. It was driver choice. Both engineering sides of the table had the information and opportunity to go that route and in the end went in different directions. From a team perspective it was impossible to say which one was right and which was wrong. They both had pluses and minuses but Sebastian was adamant that he could make it work and he did just that.
It was a bad weekend for Mark Webber. Is his head down a bit?
He'll bounce back. He was obviously going for it. With Felipe it was 50/50, a racing accident. He relied on Felipe being generous at the second part of the chicane and contact was made. It was one of those things. It's our first DNF of the year. They are costly and he knows that, so he'll be focused on coming back strong in Singapore.
Schumacher did you a favour with the McLarens. Without that would you have had them handled for race pace?
I think so. We had great pace and Sebastian, in the latter part of the race, was managing his pace to what the guys behind were doing. Once he'd got a 15s lead we turned the engine down and he still set fastest lap at that stage.
He dealt with Alonso fairly easily and got well ahead of both McLarens. Was that key given the straightline speed situation?
You could see that the McLaren wasn't particularly quick, especially with the wing not activated. Just watching Michael without his wing stalled still pulling away from a McLaren that was in the tow and had its wing open made it look like they maybe carried a bit too much downforce.
How much does chasing records mean to you?
Well we have equaled Tyrrell's number of race wins (23) in a seven year period and that's a great team to be up there with. I think we've come a long way in a short space of time. Our philosophy is that you can always learn, so we'll keep pushing right up to Brazil. There's relative rule stability for next year and although like all teams we'll be shifting our focus to the 2012 car, there are still valuable lessons to be learned.
One of Seb's pit stops flagged up at 2.9s. Was that correct?
We timed it at 2.8!
What were your thoughts on the camber situation at Monza?
We ran the Pirelli limit and it was the same for everybody. It hasn't had an effect really. Obviously taking camber out of the car is always going to take a bit of front-end bite from you but we managed to compensate for that elsewhere in set-up.
Seb could be champion again in Singapore. How will you approach that?
The same as every race so far this year. We will go there to try and win. He came close last year and it would be great to win that race. The championship will take care of itself. Our philosophy has been to attack each grand prix weekend and not cruise and collect points, and I think that's right.
Have you got the title caps on order yet?
No. What I did say to the BBC was that earlier this week we lost a young girl who had worked for the team for five years in accounts, Erin Pezzella. She was 31 years of age and lost a brave fight against cancer and as a team we'd like to dedicate this win to her. That kind of thing puts everything into perspective.