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Horner: We've broken into a fairly elite club

Horner: We’ve broken into a fairly elite club

Horner: We've broken into a fairly elite club

As Red Bull celebrated a landmark 100th Formula 1 win at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, a reflective team principal Christian Horner recalled thinking that he might have been satisfied with one victory.

Now at 100 wins the thirst for victory remains unquenched. Red Bull becomes just the fifth team to amass 100 grand prix wins joining Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams.

Only Ferrari have won more than 200 and that number is the new target mentioned by Horner and the team’s double F1 World Champion Max Verstappen, who delivered the milestone Canadian victory.

“I think for us we’ve broken into a fairly elite club of over 100 (wins),” said Horner. “It’s phenomenal and we’re only just going really.

“We’re still young – we achieved that first victory in 2009. Obviously have achieved a lot in that period and hopefully we can keep going and achieve another 100,” he added.

While the wins have flowed like water from tap with Red Bull drivers taking top spot on the podium in 17 of the last 18 grands prix, including all eight this season, success was not always part of the team’s DNA.

After the energy drink company took over Jaguar in 2005 and became Red Bull it would be four more years before Sebastian Vettel would give them their first victory at the China Grand Prix.

“I remember collecting the trophy that day, getting on the plane to go home that evening and thinking, ‘Well at least we’ve won one,'” recalled Horner. “‘If nothing else happens we’ve won a race.’ But it felt so good it was like well you want to feel that again.

“Who would have thought 99 victories later we’d achieve our century,” he mused. “It’s a landmark for the team. It’s a testament to the dedication and hard work of all the people within the company.”

Verstappen a mega talent

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 18: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 18, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

As the wins have grown so has Red Bull’s ambition, with Horner taking the opportunity after Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix to issue the ominous warning that his team is capable of winning every race prix this season.

If Red Bull is to reach 200 wins, Verstappen is likely to be a big part of that success, as he was in the first 100. Just 25 years old, Verstappen is already a double F1 World Champion, his victory in Montreal the 41st of his career bringing him equal with the late great Brazilian triple F1 Champion Ayrton Senna.

To see where Verstappen fits in among F1’s very best, all you needed to do was glance at the Canadian Grand Prix podium that included Mercedes 38-year-old seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin’s Spanish double F1 World Champion; 41-year-old Fernando Alonso.

“What we are witnessing with Max is the emergence of another mega-talent,” said Horner. “You can start to talk about him in the same sentence as the greats now.

“Having matched Ayrton Senna, I thought the podium today was very representative of the last couple of decades of Formula One with Max, Fernando and Lewis up there.

“He just keeps delivering at such a high level,” the Briton insisted.

It’s fitting that Red Bull will begin their quest for another 100 wins at the Austrian Grand Prix, their home race and home of founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who passed away last year.

“It’s great to be going back to Austria with this run of results,” said Horner. “Going there with 100 victories behind us it is quite fitting that the next race is the Austrian Grand Prix.” (Reporting by Steve Keating)