Horner: British GP tyres were dangerous
Infiniti Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner chats exclusively to AOL Cars about today's British Grand Prix and what he's looking for in Mark Webber's replacement.
How close was today's race from being called off?
The tyre failures that were happening was a big concern. We had some issues on a set of Sebastian's tyres on the first stop that meant it wasn't too far from a similar thing happening that Lewis experienced. The first thing we were thinking about was the safety of our drivers. We needed to understand what was causing it - a kerb, or debris - or something else. We instructed our drivers to steer clear of the kerbs, to drive relatively conservatively. Then we followed advice from Pirelli about pressures and increased them. There will be a lot of focus on this and Pirelli has to rectify it.> Did you think the race should have been stopped?
No. We didn't call for the race to be stopped. We tried to work with Pirelli to understand what was causing it and how to avoid it. We changed the pressures and gave the drivers the relevant advice and ultimately it wasn't a tyre that cost us the race victory here today.
Were the tyres dangerous?
I believe today that yes they were. That is something that Pirelli needs to understand and address quickly. I don't think we should cancel the next race but they need to react to what happened today. The most logical thing would be to go back to the tyres that worked for them previously.
What happened to Seb's car?
It was a gearbox issue. The transmission got stuck in fifth. We haven't had the chance to take it apart yet but we will.
What are you looking for in your replacement for Webber - a title contender or a number two to Seb?
We want the fastest, most competitive, hungry team player and driver we can find. Mark's shoes are very big ones to fill. But we have some great options available to us in two youngsters who are doing a great job as well as some more established drivers too.
Who are those? Is Massa one?
I think he would be less likely to appear on our radar. We do look at all the drivers but with the two youngsters we have and the other options it is less likely that Felipe would be a genuine contender.
What about Lewis Hamilton?
He's under contract. He's not available so it's not even an option. In the future? Yes he's a talented driver and if at some point it became feasible then we would be interested. We would never ignore a driver like Lewis just as we wouldn't ignore a driver like Fernando Alonso. We are just very fortunate we have Sebastian Vettel!
What's next for your career? Are you Infiniti Red Bull Racing for life?
I have a long term contact here. I have been working with the team since it entered F1 and I have no desire to go anywhere else. There is still a lot I want to achieve with Red Bull. I haven't even contemplated leaving.
So if McLaren came knocking you'd turn them down?
I have no interest in leaving Red Bull.
Do you want your next driver to be one you can nurture?
We want two competitive drivers. We want them to push each other and bring the best out of each other - we certainly don't want them to drive into each other. We need them to challenge and push each other.
Would you be happy to give Kimi Raikkonen the same freedom as he has at Lotus?
I think Kimi knows the Red Bull environment pretty well. He's been around Red Bull for many years and even when he was a Ferrari driver he was supported by Red Bull. You wouldn't hire a Kimi and then try and micro manage him - it wouldn't work.
Should there be a minimum of two tyre suppliers in F1?
I think one tyre supplier is a good thing as it gives everybody the same. The product needs to be performing product though. When you introduce a tyre war you escalate expenses dramatically. You will never then compete on an equal footing so it's not something I'd like to see introduced.
Looking back at the past, if you could have a dream team of any drivers, any chassis, any engine, what would your team look like?
Like it is today. There is nothing I'd change. In terms of drivers of the past it would have been superb to work with some of the greats like Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark and some of the legends, but it's very difficult to compare different generations.