Christian Horner has emphatically denied suggestions he might be the next Bernie Ecclestone.
Already very close to the sport’s 81-year-old ‘supremo’ Ecclestone – who is at the middle of a potentially-damaging corruption affair – the name ‘Horner’ is often mentioned in the paddock as perhaps Ecclestone’s preferred successor. Briton Horner, 38, a former F3000 driver, was central to the transformation of the hapless Jaguar team into the juggernaut of energy drink Red Bull’s F1 domination.
He has already been linked with the top job at Ferrari, and now British newspapers are musing that Horner is in line for the very top job of all.
Writing in the Times, journalist Kevin Eason said even the FIA believes Horner is the frontrunner to replace Ecclestone.
A source at the Jean Todt-led federation said: “What more can Christian achieve as a team principal? He is too bright not to get bored with doing the same thing every year.
“I think he will fancy it.”
Horner moved swiftly to quash the speculation.
“I cannot imagine it,” he said. “I wouldn’t be equipped to deal with that role. I am totally happy with what I am doing,” Red Bull’s team principal insisted. “I don’t think there is any one individual who could do what Bernie does. At the rate Bernie is going, it will be a long time anyway.”
Eason said Mercedes’ chief executive Nick Fry could be another contender. An unnamed paddock insider told the Guardian: “Eventually, I don’t think there is anyone who can replace Bernie. He will ultimately be replaced by an executive board. But I think Christian can play a part on that board. Looking at the other team bosses, he is the only one.”
The insider, however, said Horner is not popular among his fellow bosses because “he seems to say ‘no’ to everything”.
David Coulthard backs his former boss.
“He (Horner) has proved himself as a team principal and he’s capable of going on to do something beyond that. But I’m not sure anyone could replace Bernie Ecclestone,” said the ex Red Bull and McLaren driver.