From Becketts to Blanchimont

Red Bull Racing comes to Spa after a couple of disappointing outings in Budapest and Valencia. In fact, after an encouraging front row grid position at Silverstone was followed by a spin for Mark Webber  at  Becketts  on  the  opening  lap  of  the  British  Grand  Prix,  points  have  proved  hard  to come by. How does Team Principal Christian Horner sum up the current situation?

Christian  Horner:  "After  a  very  strong  first  half  of  the  season,  the  team  has  endured  a  very frustrating past few weeks, with no points scored in the last four races. It is extremely important that we reverse this trend and get back on terms with Renault and close the gap to Toyota. The next  few  circuits,  in  particular  Spa,  should  play  to  the  strengths  of  the  RB4  package.  Over  the past six weeks, we have analysed our performance in great detail and that analysis reveals the chassis  is  working  well  and  we  have  pushed  very  hard  in  the  factory  to  improve  in  all  areas. Valencia did not play to our strengths, but we are convinced we can bounce back."

What   has   proved   to   be   the   most   critical   factor   affecting   Red   Bull   Racing's   level   of competitiveness?

CH: "Tyres are proving to be the biggest factor at the moment. Over the past couple of months, Toyota has looked very strong tyre wise in the higher temperatures. It's not a case of our rivals suddenly  "bolting  on"  more  performance.  It's  down  to  tyre  useage  and  they  have  handled  that better  than  us.  We  have  understood  why  this  happened  and  I  feel  we  can  get  on  top  of  this situation  and  return  to  our  earlier  form  for  the  final  third  of  the  season,  hopefully  starting  this weekend in Spa."

Can the team expect a better weekend in Spa?

CH:  "I  think  so,  as  apart  from  anything  else,  there  are  a  lot  more  high  speed  corners  than  in Budapest or Valencia! We had a good test in Monza and although that was aimed primarily at the Italian  Grand  Prix,  the  results  of  the  test  answered  several  fundamental  questions  about  our package. Apart from the track characteristics, the weather always plays a crucial part in Belgium, therefore we will need to be particularly sharp operationally and in terms of strategy, dealing with the fact that sometimes, half the track can be dry and the other half wet. We need to go there and attack the weekend, we need both our drivers to be on top of their game, aiming to finish in the points.  At  the  moment,  the  section  of  the  grid  that  includes,  BMW,  Renault,  Toyota,  ourselves, Williams and now, Sebastian Vettel, is extremely tight and, as we've seen at the last few races, one tenth of a second can make the difference between four grid positions. Even with the long lap at Spa, I think we can expect a very tight grid, while the early Autumn weather, the race taking place a weekend later than usual, can add further unpredictability."

Has the need to turn the current situation around had a negative impact on development work on next year's car?

CH:  "The  whole  group  is  working  extremely  hard  to  balance  its  resources  between  on-going development of RB4, currently more important than ever, given the performance downturn we've just been discussing and the work on the 2009 project. However, right from the end of 2007, we planned  for  RB4  development  to  continue  to  the  end  of  the  2008  season  and  therefore  the pressure to make up the ground lost in recent weeks has no impact on our work on next year's car. The team has worked well together putting in concerted effort and man-hours to understand and find solutions to our recent problems , so we are going to Spa in fighting mood, determined to come away with some points."


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