Keeping Track #31: Horner predicts ‘fascinating’ start

FORMULA 1 - Tests in ValenciaRed Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says the raft of off-season regulation changes to Formula One should ensure a “fascinating” opening to the world championship in Australia next week.

The defending world champions have endured a troubled pre-season testing campaign as drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo get to grips with the new 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines powering this year’s F1 field.

Horner told the Australian Grand Prix’s ‘Keeping Track’ podcast that reliability as much as speed will determine the outcome of the 2014 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

“I think reliability will be a concern for all the teams going into Melbourne, (and) I think we’ll see more retirements than we’ve seen in previous years,” Horner said.

“We’re yet to see how a race unfolds, and we’re limited on the fuel (to 100kg for the race). Melbourne is one of the highest-demanding tracks on fuel consumption, so it’s going to be fascinating to see how that pans out.”

Vettel comes to Australia next week chasing a record 10th consecutive Grand Prix victory, and Horner conceded last year’s title defence may have compromised Red Bull’s preparations for 2014.

“We had a relatively late start due to how hard we were pushing in last year’s championship, and of course it’s an all-new power unit, so the intricacies of that have been quite complicated for the engine suppliers as well,” he said.

“We’re certainly now, I think, turning the corner, and together with Renault starting to understand some of these issues.”

Horner also spoke about how Ricciardo has settled into his new role as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull, and how the new V6-powered cars will produce a different spectacle for the sport’s fans.

Listen here – and leave your feedback.

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