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Christian Horner

Horner in vehement Red Bull defence following external criticism

There has been a flow of criticism towards Red Bull's F1 operation directed from McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

Horner Red Bull Bahrain pre-season test
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To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has launched a staunch defence of the relationship between the parent team and RB following criticism from McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

American Brown has voiced his concerns over the closeness between the two operations - both owned by Red Bull GmbH - several times over the past few months given the newly named Visa Cash App RB team is taking on components from the all-conquering RB19 within the confines of F1's regulations.

Whilst RB CEO Peter Bayer has naturally defended his outfit following the accusations from Brown, speaking at Bahrain pre-season testing, Horner has now further suggested there should instead be praise for Red Bull, rather than criticism.

"One has to take a look back at the history of where this started and why that ownership [of the two F1 teams] is as it is now," Horner told media including RacingNews365.

"Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley approached Dietrich Mateschitz back in 2005 to acquire what was then the Minardi Formula 1 team which was perenially struggling and on the brink of bankruptcy.

"Dietrich stepped in, acquired the team, shored it up, and then invested significantly in their Faenza facilities in Italy.

"We then faced the financial crisis in 2008, as other manufacturers chose that opportunity to leave the sport. I think four of them left at that point, [but] Red Bull remained resolute and continued to support both teams through that difficult period.

"The regulations then evolved and Faenza had to become its own manufacturer, so investment was made in the infrastructure.

"We then had Covid, where Red Bull again stepped up and stuck by both teams. In fact, Red Bull was responsible for getting F1 going again after Covid with two races that were introduced after the pandemic.

"So the commitment that Red Bull has made to F1 and these two teams is outstanding and should be applauded and be grateful for rather than derided and trying to compromise."

'Two teams are separate'

The concerns from Brown run alongside RB's own desire to run a closer collaboration with Red Bull, after failing to fully exploit the current regulations under former Team Principal Franz Tost.

Insisting "the two teams are totally separate", Horner added: "One is based in Italy and one is based in the UK. The one that is based in Italy has a far larger turnover of staff that end up at Maranello [at Ferrari] than end up in Milton Keynes.

"They have different personalities, they have different characters and they comply continually with the regulations.

"Indeed, the relationship is far less tight than some of the teams that enjoy very tight relationships with their engine manufacturers.

"I would take it as a compliment if I was Laurent [Mekies, new RB team principal] if the issue was being raised now because of the change of stewardship.

"The team had the opportunity to get its act together, they have two quality drivers, they're introducing quality people into the team and we expect them to be a competitor, not just to the rest of the field, but indeed Red Bull Racing.

"We are racers, there are no preset rules, there are no agreements between the teams and I think you can pick out many highlights or scenarios where that has been the case over the years, with even Toro Rosso cars parking in our pit garage during a championship-deciding race.

"So I don't understand the fuss about it, I don't understand the noise that has been created, and I think Red Bull should actually be applauded for the support, the commitment and the jobs they have provided through the good times and particularly the bad times.

"So for me, it really is a non-issue."

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