Red Bull Racing have been awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Milton Keynes.
Team boss Christian Horner and Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey received the honour on behalf of the team from Milton Keynes Council on Thursday night, after a unanimous vote from councillors.
And although Mr Horner admitted he wasn’t sure what the title enabled them to, he said he was very proud.
“Freedom of the Borough is something we’re very proud of,” he said. “Maybe it gets us a free car parking space, I don’t know! But it’s a great award.
“It’s something we’re tremendously proud of and it’s a tremendous recognition for what we’ve achieved in the last few years. It’s quite special.
“We employ more than 600 people in Milton Keynes and it’s a key part of the success we’ve achieved. A lot of them are based locally, and a lot of our suppliers are based locally too. Geographically, it’s a perfect place for a Formula 1 team to be based.
“Milton Keynes was the only option for an Austrian company to open a F1 team because they could go skiing at lunchtime! We were always going to be based here!”
Mayor Brian White, who proposed the motion said the team were doing a fantastic job of promoting the name of Milton Keynes around the world.
He said: “The name of Milton Keynes has been spread around the world thanks to this company. They always says ‘thanks to the team in Milton Keynes.’ It is about the workforce in Tilbrook, and the skills they display on a daily basis.
“There are eras in F1: when you think of the 50s, you think of Fangio. Going forward, you think of Senna, Michael Schumacher.
“But the current way Red Bull have dominated the sport in recent years with Sebastian Vettel is one of the great sporting stories and one we’re proud of in Milton Keynes.”
Councillor Andrew Geary, leader of the council, added: “F1 has a long and deep history in this area. Red Bull have moved here and evolved with our city.
“We are now the city that hosts the leading racing team in the world, and it’s something we are rightly proud of.
“While Christian and Adrian never miss a chance to mention the team back in Milton Keynes, neither do we miss a chance to remind ourselves how proud of them we are.
“We have aspirations to be an international sporting city. The part they play in that by promoting Milton Keynes around the world is helping massively, and tonight we put on record, our thanks for doing so.”
Labour’s deputy leader Councillor Hannah O’Neill helped transform the factory in Tilbrook from Jaguar to Red Bull Racing when the drinks firm took over at the end of 2004.
And she said the team have helped the image of Milton Keynes.
She said: “I’ve watched the team grow from their early days to where they are now. And of course I’m proud, that goes without saying. Not only does it mean Milton Keynes gets mentioned all over the world, but when you used to mention Milton Keynes in meetings, people would say ‘what’s there apart from roundabouts and Concrete Cows?’
“But now, we all get to say ‘we’ve got football, shopping, Bletchley Park, and we build Red Bull F1 cars.’”