Aston Martin Red Bull Racing chief honoured by Cranfield University

Christian Horner OBE with his honorary degree
Christian Horner OBE with his honorary degree

Christian Horner OBE, Team Principal at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, today received an honorary degree from Cranfield University, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to motorsport.

The Formula 1 boss, who became the youngest-ever team principal when he took on the role in 2005, also launched the University’s new Advanced Motorsport Mechatronics masters course.

On receiving his degree, Christian Horner said: “Being awarded an honorary degree from Cranfield University is a great honour and privilege, one which I am delighted to accept.”

Originally a racing driver, Christian competed in Formula Renault, British F3 and Formula 2, before stepping back to focus on running his own team, Arden International. Over the subsequent six seasons, he built Arden into a racing powerhouse, achieving three Drivers’ and Team Championships in succession.

During his 13 years at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, Christian has led the team to 57 grand prix victories and eight World Championship titles.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, chief executive and vice-chancellor of Cranfield University, said: “Throughout his career, Christian has inspired future generations to take up a career in motorsport with his passion, drive and innovation.

“There is no more appropriate person for us to both honour and to have launch our new masters course. Motorsport is a significant part of Cranfield’s past, present and future, with our alumni regularly working in pit lanes, garages and laboratories across the globe.”

The Advanced Motorsport Mechatronics masters course, which is due to welcome its first cohort in September this year, aims to provide students with a sound understanding of the fundamental scientific, engineering and managerial principles involved in motorsport. The focus is on the “mechatronics” aspect of the discipline, which is the engineering of advanced control systems, multi-domain computer modelling, in-vehicle communication networks, electromechanical and embedded systems, hardware-in-the-loop validation and systems integration

Students on the course will regularly engage with motorsport practitioners through guest lectures, group design work and individual projects supported by industry. Their studies will be underpinned through access to motorsport related facilities which the University operates.

This relationship between Cranfield and the motorsport industry is an essential part of creating the next generation of engineers, according to Christian, who added: “Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Cranfield have enjoyed a long-standing relationship, which has proved mutually beneficial.

“We have been fortunate enough to employ a number of top-level graduates from the University and while they get to further develop their skills in Formula One, we get to work with driven, determined and ambitious engineers.”