Christian Horner defends ‘obvious’ decision to replace Guenther Steiner at Red Bull

Guenther Steiner was replaced by Adrian Newey at Red Bull as their technical director at the end of the 2005 season.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has recalled the start of his life at the Austrian outfit and bringing chief development officer Adrian Newey into the team, with Newey having replaced a notable figure.

It’s astonishing to think that Horner has led the Milton Keynes-based side since they bought out the Jaguar F1 Team, with the Briton having been in charge at Red Bull since 2005.

To no surprise, he is the longest-serving team principal on the grid and was actually the sport’s youngest team principal when he took up the role, having been just 31 years old.

Before becoming team principal at Red Bull, Horner was actually a racing driver himself, after founding and running the Arden Formula 3000 team.

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Horner eventually called it a day on his racing career and switched purely to management, with the 49-year-old having held talks with Eddie Jordan about buying his team, in order to make an Arden F1 team.

Nothing ultimately came from the talks, but it wasn’t long until Horner was invited to meet Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz in 2004, with his appointment as Red Bull team principal having followed shortly after.

“I was looking to see how I could take Arden into F1. Bernie [Ecclestone] was pushing me towards the Jordan team,” Horner told the i.

“Helmut invited me to meet Dietrich in Salzburg in the summer of 2004. The Jordan deal didn’t happen and Red Bull bought Jaguar. Dietrich invited me back at the end of 2004 and asked me to be team principal.”

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Red Bull entered F1 in 2005 with Horner at the helm, with Haas boss Guenther Steiner alongside him.

However, their time together was short lived, with Steiner having been nudged to become Red Bull’s technical director in NASCAR at the time, allowing Newey to enter the F1 team.

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Recalling his time with Steiner, Horner admits that the Italian wasn’t “a technical leader”, with the Red Bull boss having made it a priority of his to get Newey into the team as soon as possible.

“Guenther was and is a character but it was obvious he was not a technical leader,” Horner said.

“I identified what the team really needed was technical leadership and direction. So from a very early stage I made a point of bumping into Adrian.”