Wolff offers Horner advice

Fans of the NTT IndyCar series who cast their eyes at Formula One may winder at times what all the fuss is about. For 17 consecutive seasons the winning driver of the American based series has been decided at the final event of the year and four rounds into 2023 there have been four different winers.

Meanwhile in Formula One land with just over a sixth of the season concluded, everyone knows that Red Bull will the constructors’ championships and that a Red Bull driver will claim the drivers’ title too.



The need for intra team rivalry

Yet Formula One has learned to deal with these eventualities over the years and during such a year the narrative of an inter team rivalry is developed.

And Formula One has had numerous intra team rivalries which have been gripping and contentious in equal measure.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were the most recent as the all conquering Mercedes cars were untouchable for the rest of the field.

After two years of Hamilton championships, Rosberg fought back valiantly earning a deserved victory over his now arch rival and team mate in 2016.



Vettel never let Webber win

Of course Red Bull are no strangers to being the dominant F1 team as between 2010-2013 they won consecutive team titles and driver championships with Mark Weber and Sebastian Vettel.

Unlike with Mercedes, there was little joy for the number two driver Webber who even when the team ruled in his favour was still beaten by Vettel in the Multi-21 row at the Malaysian GP.

But now Horner is older and wiser and has already been making the right noises by suggesting his drivers are free to race in contrast to the last period of Ferrari dominance. 

The favouritism of the Maranello team shown towards Michael Schumacher at the expense of his team mates saw the popularity of F1’s most historic team take a hit.

Mercedes Jekel and Hyde W14



Wolff offers Horner advice

At the team principals’ press conference Toto Wolff had words of advice for his rival on how to manage the rest of this season.

“I can tell you from my past, it’s a super tricky job for Christian and the team,” said the Austrian, “because both drivers will obviously try to always feel that they’re fairly and equally treated, whilst at the same time, trying to have an advantage.

“In our team, it was important to maintain a lot of transparency and clarity, discuss things before we actually go racing on a Sunday. Put boundaries.

“At the end, both drivers, even with Nico and Lewis, respected the team’s opinion, whilst we acknowledge that they have a fight between the two of them. 



Toto admits he could’ve done things better

“So going back in time, there’s things I probably would have done differently in 2016, particularly, but the balance right between accepting these two guys are racing for a championship, and it’s within the same garage. 

“And at the same time, they are part of a larger structure. I think that is not always easy, because they are very competitive animals.”

Unappreciative of the paternal advice, Christian Horner quipped,

“We just do everything Toto says but just a bit better,” to the great amusement of the assembled journalists.

“No, look,” Horner added, “I think that it’s a luxury problem, first of all. Wow, I think any team principal in the pit lane would hope to have that issue. And it’s something we’ve experienced before.



Horner warns against paranoia

“I think the most key thing is, as Toto was mentioning, is to ensure that paranoia doesn’t creep in and that both drivers are treated equally.

“You go to pains to provide equality, to the point of who drives out the garage first each weekend, you know, it alternates. It even alternates in the debrief who talks first.

“But you know, it’s racing is Formula 1, and occasionally something will happen like a Safety Car or a pit stop and you can’t control every aspect within the sport. 

“There are still variables. And I think so long as the drivers know that they’re both getting an equal chance and it’s ultimately down to what they do on the circuit, that’s where you want it to play out, not through reliability, for example, to play a key role in a championship fight between your two drivers within your own team.”

Hamilton throws team under the bus



Perez not the King of Miami

Despite being the newly crowned, “King of the streets” by his race engineer in Baku, Sergio Perez did not live up to expectations around the fake streets of the Miami Dolphin’s stadium.

He was almost half a second slower than his team mate Verstappen and admitted, “We have been trying a few things with the mechanical balance and we learned quite a bit.”

“My lap was also pretty bad. I locked up on the final corner so there is quite a bit to come. I am not driving really well today. So if I can improve my driving and get myself a bit more comfortable, it should be fine.”



Will Horner intervene?

The Mexican driver knows he must raise his game on Saturday with just one more street circuit in the upcoming schedule if he is to hit the front and seriously challenge his double world champion team mate.

Otherwise it may be down to Horner to stop Verstappen running away with it and keep the intra team mate rivalry narrative alive and  kicking. 

Of course Max may just be more ‘unlucky’ this season with reliability which would also keep Checo in the game.

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