Vettel signed for Red Bull in 2009 after having played for its junior team, Toro Rosso , which today is known as AlphaTauri. He finished second after his first season with the team and won the world championship four times in a row, from 2010 to 2013.
Subsequently, he signed for Ferrari at the end of a difficult year with the entry of the hybrid regulations in 2014. Despite leaving the team, Vettel maintained a good relationship with Horner and the rest of the team.
“It was a pleasure having him on the team,” said Horner. “We’ve accomplished a lot of great things together. I think just seeing him grow from a kid to an adult, he’s a very principled guy, he has very strong beliefs.”
“We’ve seen him in the later stages of his career, he stands up for the things he’s passionate about and rightly so. His family is very important to him and he’s very private about it, so I’m delighted to see that he’s become an Instagrammer lately! !”.
“As his Formula 1 career comes to an end, I am sure he has many things he wants to do in his life and that he is going to do great things. It will be sad not to see him here but I think it is the best time for him.” .
“It wasn’t pretty to see him racing in the middle of the grid, he doesn’t deserve to be there and that’s why I think it was time for him to say ‘now is the time to end F1’.”
Horner also paid tribute to Vettel’s commitment on and off the track during his years at Red Bull.
“I think the highlight of Seb, is that from the first moment you could see that he was a very focused man and his work ethic was totally Germanic.”
“He worked very hard, stayed late and had a great sense of humor and had to adjust to a British team, but he embraced our culture straight away.”
“He endeared himself throughout the company, whether it was delivering chocolates to secretaries or learning garage lingo, his mastery of ‘cockney’ (slang used mostly in South and East London) became legendary” .
“He was formidable with the cars we had at the time. Those were happy days in F1: tremendous competitiveness, great teams to fight against and some incredible successes.”
“He, at that time, was very focused on achieving, not only success, but also going for records. They meant a lot to him.”
Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull RB9
Horner commented that Vettel showed constant improvement throughout the four years in which he won the title in a row with Red Bull.
“It was getting better and better. I mean, in 2009, we were a young team, like him. And we made some mistakes. In 2010 he was the outstanding driver of the year, he had a lot of reliability problems and, against all odds, he took the World Cup at the end of the year.
“In 2011, he built on that. 2012 was a super tough year. He had only won one race when we left Europe. And then he won, I think, four in a row to go toe-to-toe with Fernando [Alonso] in the final race in Brazil. “.
“When we got to 2013, he absolutely dominated, getting nine wins in a row, for me it was his pinnacle year. He gave it his all and it was a really exceptional year.”