sport

Horner: Challenging year for F1

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes all marques within Formula One will be stretched to the limit this year.

Over the course of the coming campaign, teams will find resources and manpower divided as they continue to develop this year's cars, while also producing next season's models that will house new engines.

The most significant change in recent F1 history is on the horizon as the sport abandons the current 2.4-litre V8 units and switches to 1.6-litre turbo-charged V6s next year.

The smaller teams are naturally concerned at the cost implications, which could compromise their planning for 2013.

But even for the likes of Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes, given the money at their disposal, it will not all be plain sailing.

"2014 is a massive challenge for all the teams," said Horner.

"We'll have continuity behind the scenes with (engine partner) Renault. At Viry they are working behind hard.

"But then it's the same for all of our competitors on what will be a significantly different Formula One car next year.

"This year it's about spinning two plates because we have the 2013 development, whilst at the same time we will be conducting research, design and background work into the RB10 (next year's car), which will almost be a different formula to what we have now.

"So there will be a balance between those two challenges, which will stretch all the teams.

"It will be about how you apply your resource depending on where you are in the championship and the heat of that battle."

Horner, meanwhile, feels this season's seemingly disjointed calendar will inadvertently assist plans for 2014.

It is now almost certain there will only be 19 races this year, given F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's attempts to add another European race in July.

Although doubts over the German Grand Prix have now been erased, with the Nurburgring to host on July 7, it still means beyond that there will only be one race - in Hungary - over the following six weekends at the height of summer.

That is in stark contrast to the end of the season when there are six races in eight weekends.

But the prolonged gaps over the summer could prove beneficial, with Horner adding: "It's not a disadvantage at that point in the year.

"Teams are going to need to start thinking about 2014, so perhaps you are able to divide your resources slightly more unevenly then with the breaks they allow."

Despite the calendar problems encountered by Ecclestone this year, Horner feels the 82-year-old deserves some credit with regard to his manoeuvring of the events each season.

"It's very difficult for the promoter because he is juggling holidays and the different countries he has to deal with, other obstacles and other events," said Horner.

"To put a calendar of 19 to 20 races together is a big challenge in itself, especially with other big sporting events that take place during the year as well.

"Back-to-back races, especially when they are international, work out more economical than large gaps between races at fly-away events.

"So the back-to-back nature at the end of the year, whilst tough from a travelling point of view, tends to be a bit more economical."