Mercedes boss warns Red Bull boss of his impending internal team mate battle; Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner faces a “very tricky” job this year with his two drivers battling for the 2023 world Formula 1 championship and offers some ‘advice’.
Since the start of the 2023 season, Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have shared victories after five races and already have a comfortable lead over third-placed Fernando Alonso.
Wolff: I’ve been here before…
Speaking in Miami at the weekend, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted that Christian Horner will almost certainly find himself in a tricky situation this season when it comes to managing the battle between teammates for the world championship, much like the Austrian experienced a few years ago when Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were battling for the championship between 2014 and 2016.
“From my experience, it’s a very tricky job ahead for Christian [Horner] and the team,” Toto Wolff said last weekend in Miami.
“Both drivers will obviously always try to make sure that they are treated fairly and equitably while trying to get an advantage.”
“In the case of our team, it was important to maintain a lot of transparency and clarity, to discuss things before we went racing on Sunday and to set boundaries.”
“In the end, both drivers – even when it was Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis – respected the team’s opinion, whereas we recognised that they were fighting with each other.”
“Looking back, there are things we probably would have done differently, in 2016 in particular. But you have to find the right balance between accepting that these two guys are racing for a championship – and that it’s happening in the same garage – and at the same time they’re part of a wider structure.
“I think it’s not easy, because they are competitors.”
Rosberg versus Hamilton at Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were childhood friends and fellow kart racers who shared the same dream of competing at the highest level of motor racing. But it was not to be, and they ended up reuniting at Mercedes, where their once close friendship turned into a fierce rivalry.
Last year Rosberg revealed his relationship broke down with Lewis Hamilton in Formula One as soon as they began fighting for the world championship in 2014.
Mercedes had the best car when F1’s turbo-hybrid era began in 2014, an intense rivalry ignited which included the drivers not speaking to each other off the track after several incidents, something similar to what we’re seeing at Red Bull under these new regulations.
While Hamilton won the F1 titles in 2014 and 2015, Rosberg bounced back in 2016 in a nail-biting season that saw the pair come together on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix and the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton had previously stated that he has threatened to quit Mercedes, underlining the sour nature of their relationship.
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Asked to respond to his Mercedes counterpart, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said, “We do everything Toto said, but we do it a little bit better!”
“Look, I think it’s primarily a luxury issue. I think any manager in the pit lane would hope to have this problem.”
“It’s a situation we’ve had before and I think the most important thing, as Toto mentioned, is to make sure that paranoia doesn’t set in and that both drivers are treated in the same way.”
“You work to ensure equality to the point of which rider comes out of the garage first each weekend. Then it alternates, even in the briefings, who speaks first?”
“But it’s still racing, it’s F1, and sometimes something happens like a safety car or a pit stop, and you can’t control every aspect of the sport. There are always variables.”
“I think as long as the drivers know that they both have an equal chance, and that ultimately it’s what they do on the circuit that counts, that’s how you want it to be, not by reliability for example, which could play a key role in a championship fight between your two drivers within your own team.”
After the Miami Grand Prix won by Max Verstappen, the Dutchman still leads the drivers’ championship by a comfortable 14 points over his teammate Sergio Perez.
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Haha. Toto trying to play mind games!
I don’t think Max is worried about Perez getting equal treatment, he is soo much better than him he’ll be too far up the road for any collisions or unnecessary fighting on track.
Unless they swap mechanics from one side of the garage to the other and give Max bad engines on purpose.