Red Bull Racing Chief, Christian Horner, talks life in the fast lane
“The Kardashians on wheels” was the rather memorable characterization of Drive to Survive offered up by Christian Horner, who became the latest guest to join our Extraordinary Tales podcast last week. Tuning into the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, it felt hard to disagree. Since the show aired in 2019, F1 has grown into a cultural phenomenon; the place to see and be seen.
But what’s it really like having the Netflix crews around? “We’re offered a little bit of editorial control,” Horner said, but not much, which inevitably leads to an element of regret when the final edit is released: “did I really say that, and does that really need to go in?”
These are just some of the dangers that come with a newfound celebrity status conjured by the moveable circus that is F1, and it was a candid piece of insight from Horner who, like everyone else, is having to adapt to his growing profile.
The reality, though, is that he has been at the pointy end of this sport for 18 years now; a smooth operator who has enjoyed a remarkable career transforming Red Bull Racing into one of the most formidable teams that F1 has ever seen. Very little seems to faze him.
Grounded in his formative years at Arden international – “an education for me, where I had to walk a mile in everyone’s shoes” – Horner has turned “a very, very weak” team into a world-leading technology business. The key to that? Bringing in the right expertise: “with the right people, anything is achievable.” Adrian Newie, Red Bull’s “conductor of the technical orchestra”, was one of those brought on board in 2006. Five Constructors titles later, it’s a decision that has been vindicated many times over.
For Horner, the most memorable of those victories was 2021; “the best racing F1 had seen in its 70-year history.” Was he upset by the aftermath of that race? “I felt a little let down… but in time we’ll look back and appreciate that we witnessed something very special.”
Attention soon turned to the future of F1, and Red Bull’s place within that. One thing that is abundantly clear is that Horner loves a challenge and there is a significant one on the horizon. In 2026, Red Bull will join the likes of Ferrari, Audi, and Mercedes as a power unit supplier in F1. From energy drink to engines. It’s been an extraordinary journey.
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