Horner wouldn’t swap ‘prestige’ of Drivers’ title

Jon Wilde
Red Bull celebrate Max Verstappen World Championship success. Abu Dhabi December 2021

Red Bull had the chance to win both World Championships this year, but Christian Horner has said the Drivers’ title was the one they most wanted.

For the first time since 2013, a team other than Mercedes can say they have a World Champion in their ranks as Max Verstappen took the individual crown away from Lewis Hamilton.

Throughout the season at various points, there looked to be every chance of Red Bull walking away with both titles but Mercedes’ strong end to the campaign meant they completed a straight eight of Constructors’ Championship successes.

However, if Red Bull team principal Horner could have chosen one or the other, he feels the coin landed the right way up from his point of view.

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen celebrate. Yas Marina December 2021.

“The Constructors’ is where the money is,” said Horner, quoted by Motorsport.com. “That’s where the revenues that come into the sport are distributed, based on your performance in the championship.

“I think every employee within our team, and probably in most of the teams, is rewarded on where they are in the Constructors’ Championship as opposed to the Drivers’.

“But the Drivers’ obviously has the popularity and the prestige. I don’t think there’s a single employee within our business that would have traded first place in the Constructors’ for this Drivers’ championship.

“When you see the reaction Max had when he visited the factory, everyone is so proud of what he’s achieved.

“Of course, the Constructors’ has huge importance to it because of that revenue distribution, and we are talking millions and millions of dollars in difference between a first and a second place, for example.

“But the prestige of the Drivers’ World Championship, that’s the big one. That’s the one you really want. And that’s why it meant so much achieving that.”

Given how long the Mercedes era of dominance had lasted, Horner said Verstappen’s title felt particularly special even though Red Bull are no strangers to success – Sebastian Vettel was the champion driver for them four years in a row from 2010-13.

 

“This one feels equally as special as that very first title,” said Horner. “I think the intensity and competitiveness of this one has been insane.

“I think the fact it’s been against the quality of opposition we’ve had in both Lewis and the Mercedes team, it has stretched us to probably beyond what we even thought we were capable of.

“And I think what makes it even more rewarding is that during the hybrid era, Mercedes have been all dominant, they have annihilated the opposition. And finally we’ve managed to produce a competitive car and Max has grabbed it with both hands.

“To come out on top with the biggest title on offer in motorsport is a tremendously proud moment for us. And obviously we are tremendously proud of what Max has achieved.”