Following a highly controversial start to 2013, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has stated that he is unfazed by his diminishing popularity, acknowledging that F1 is “not a popularity contest”. Christian, alongside driver, Sebastian Vettel, have suffered abject media coverage over the past weeks, yet Horner maintains that success breeds contempt.
With Sebastian Vettel challenging Horner’s authority, his position as Team Principal has been questioned. This is not an isolated incident either, with Horner being commonly criticized for being weak in times of civil war within the team. However, Red Bull’s success is undoubtable and for any team to attain their targets they need to have a strong core of key personnel.Horner certainly has a glittering CV. His management tactics may be questionable, however, leading a team to three consecutive double championships, cannot be undermined. Consequently, Christian has recently hit back at his critics, suggesting that it is his success which has provoked the negative perception of him within sections of the media.
The Brit stated, “My job is to do the best I can for the team, to protect the team’s interest and every employee’s interests within the team, as well as the drivers. At the end of the day, it’s not a popularity contest. Of course when you have success the quickest way to become unpopular is to have sustained success. The success Red Bull has enjoyed over the past few years sits very uncomfortably with certain members in the paddock. There are teams that have struggled to win Constructors’ World Championships that have been around for a long, long time, and that inevitably doesn’t sit well either. My focus is to do the best I can for Red Bull Racing, and if that means you’re not the most popular, or you’re not invited out for dinners, then I don’t care.”
A bold statement from the Team Principal. Evidently, he is alluding to the idea that certain sections of the paddock are jealous of what he and the team have achieved. Perhaps this could be considered as naive however, it does represent some truth. Whenever any team develops an ingenious new device, their competitors immediately search for the rule book, in the hope that they can appeal the legality of the front running car. It is this idea which Christian appears to be suggesting is the case at the moment, but instead of attacking a car’s design, the competitors are attacking him. However, his weak management skills will not quell the dissatisfaction, especially amongst the Australian sections of the Paddock.