Christian Horner still rates Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s first Formula 1 world title-winning night, of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as the “biggest moment” of his career as a team boss.
After nearly a decade of no F1 title wins, the ‘taps’ turned off for Red Bull at the end of 2013, making way for Mercedes’ world title streak of 15 titles in eight years, which Red Bull put a pause to last year with Max Verstappen claiming the 2021 F1 championship under contentious circumstances.
But this year Verstappen has dominated, wrapping up the 2022 F1 title with four races to go. Along the way the Dutch ace delivered some of the greatest performances seen on track in recent years, first turning tenth on the grid into victory in Hungary, and 14th to first at Spa – the stuff of legend.
However, when asked to pinpoint his own greatest moment in F1, Verstappen’s boss Horner declared: “Undoubtedly, the first time I won it. Yeah, I was 35, or something like that. And that was in the last race in Abu Dhabi, against the ultimate Sebastian Vettel.
“That was a unique feeling. And it was one of the rare races that Dietrich Mateschitz would actually come to. So for him to be there was very special. And that, yeah, that was a massive moment for the whole, for the whole company for the whole business.
“But I think having been through the tough times, during that period of not just domination, annihilation by one of your opponents. To never lose sight of what the end goal was, and to fulfil that and to win it,” explained the 48-year-old Englishman.
Horner: You couldn’t have written it, nobody would have believed it
Horner added: “If somebody came up with a script and said, that’s the way the season is going to pan out. Nobody would have believed it. So for sure, it was probably the biggest moment in my career so far.”
Indeed t was a big night for F1 under the bright glare of the Yas Marina floodlights for the crucial decider.
The top three arrived from the penultimate round in Brazil, with pre-race favourite Fernando Alonso, driving for Ferrari at the time, with 246 points, Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber eight points adrift in second and Seb third on 231 points.
Well-told history shows, that by Sunday night, 14 November 2010 F1 had a new World Champion, Vettel had managed to not only win the race in the UAE but also wrap up the title by four points.
Abu Dhabi 2010 was a famous night for the sport
The beginning of Red Bull’s four-year winning legacy, and thee more came to Vettel and his team which ticked the boxes that make Horner tick.
“There’s no better feeling than winning and when you’ve won, you want to win it again and want to win it again,” said the Red Bull team boss before being asked if he is content with his life.
“I’m very content in so many ways but I’m still extremely hungry. It doesn’t feel like it’s enough at the moment. I think that drives you, some people are happy to cruise others want to keep pushing.
“I feel like I’ve only just got going, it will never be enough,” concluded Horner who was the youngest team principal of a F1 racing team when he took over at Red Bull, nearly 20 years ago. He’s still the youngest team principal today.