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On this day: Horner appointed as Red Bull Team Principal

The longest-serving Team Principal in F1 history was appointed to Red Bull amid the takeover from Jaguar in 2005.

It was 18 years ago today when Formula 1's current longest-serving Team Principal, Christian Horner, was appointed at Red Bull Racing. Months prior to the appointment the Jaguar F1 team was sold off by Ford to soft drinks business mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, with the requirement that he invests $400 million over the course of three seasons. Prior to team management Horner was a racing driver, competing at national level single seater championships in the UK before moving up to Formula 3000 in 1997 and founding the Arden team. After failing to qualify for over half of the races that year, Horner did one more season before choosing to step back from driving to develop Arden. Horner built up Arden into a winning team, achieving titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004. After this success he was linked with a move to F1, specifically in buying the Jordan F1 team. Instead he joined Red Bull in 2005, making him the youngest Team Principal at 31.

Bringing onboard Newey

At that time the team did not have the technical expertise of Adrian Newey, which Horner set as his first port of call to turn around the fortunes of the team. "What was missing was a clear technical direction," Horner said in an interview with Red Bull. "Adrian was the very best that's ever been in Formula One, so it was a question of how could we entice, how could we attract Adrian to join the Red Bull team?" Once Horner managed to convince Newey to join, the designer brought in David Coulthard to help establish the groundwork for the project. Their first podium came at the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, when Coulthard finished third - prompting Horner to jump into the swimming pool on top of the Red Bull Energy Station wearing a Superman cape to celebrate. In signing Mark Webber for the 2007 season, the team could draw on their driver's expertise as they worked their way up the grid.

Red Bull challenge for titles

The team came close to a race win in 2007 at the Japanese Grand Prix, with Webber leading in the tricky wet conditions. But while under Safety Car he was hit by Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel, ending his race and Red Bull's chance at an inaugural victory. Vettel would later go on to win a race with Toro Rosso in 2008, then was subsequently signed as one of Red Bull's main drivers for 2009. From there the team started to challenge for more wins and titles, eventually becoming part of the 'big three' teams as they took back-to-back the Constructors' and Drivers' titles between 2010 and 2013. Key to that was Horner's ability to lead the team through various regulation changes, maintaining the talent of Newey, and employing upcoming driver talent. The promotion of Max Verstappen in 2016 kickstarted the next 'era' for the team, which ultimately came to fruition in 2021 when he took his first title with the team and went on to defend it in dominating fashion in 2022. Horner has established himself as one of F1's big players in the last 18 years, recently showing his leadership in the wake of the cost cap controversy in 2022 . But with five Constructors' Championships in the last 12 years, the 49 year-old has effectively turned Red Bull from a 'soft drinks company' into World Champions.

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