LUSAIL, Qatar – A Formula One headline battle broke out and broke into the conference room on Friday at the Qatar Grand Prix, where rival Toto Wolff (Mercedes) and Christian Horner (Red Bull) clashed with each other in a contest. word war ahead of this week’s competition.
The two bosses of the team discussed a number of topics, from Mercedes’ failure to reconsider what happened between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Brazil to the strained relationship between the two.
We’ve combined the best of the 30-minute session, as well as analyzing what others can mean in the last three races.
Pa Brazil GP
When Wolff and Horner speak to the press, The FIA issued a ruling on the part of officials not even looking at what happened between Verstappen and Hamilton on Lap 48 of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Mercedes believed the camera footage of the Verstappen, which was not available to the authorities at the time, had to be thoroughly investigated. But after the relevant parties filed their lawsuits in a video Thursday, lawmakers decided the show did not meet the requirements to open a full investigation into the incident.
Before the verdict was announced, Wolff said his team did not expect the supervisors to follow through and issue a repatriation order to Verstappen, but instead wanted to be clear on what was allowed in terms of wheel speed.
“We do not expect to receive anything from free speech, to be honest,” Wolff said. “Most of the concepts are philosophical, because if that were the case, it would mean that going beyond the outside would not be possible because it means that the inside is in complete control.
“Now, that’s right, but as long as the car is near you, you have to leave the place, and it is not.
“That’s why we just want to make it to the end, judge on this and change the last few races if necessary, and some drivers have said the same thing, which is why we are making the supervisors look someone else.”
Horner responded directly, as if slightly pressured, compared to Verstappen’s movement around the outside of all Mercedes drivers in Mexico.
“I think, I’m just talking about what Toto said out there and saying it’s impossible, I think Max made it very clear that it was possible in Mexico on the first step,” he said.
When the management’s decision was announced at a press conference, Horner said it was the right approach to the game.
“I think it’s the right choice because it would open up the Pandora’s box about a lot of other things that happened in the competition,” he said. “I think the most important thing now is to just look at this high price, it is good to be here in Qatar, I think it will be a good region and we want a good, clean, just war not only here but in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi.”
Wolff added: “[The stewards’ decision was] full expectation. I think we wanted to start a discussion around because it would probably be the topic of the next few races, and I think that goal is being achieved. We did not think it would go further.
On future demonstrations
Based on the comments of the press conference, the management’s decision on Friday could not be the end of the Mercedes-Red Bull fight this year.
Another topic that has passed the last few competitions is Red Bull’s skepticism about the versatility of Mercedes’ rear wings. Horner also referred to the speed of his enemy’s straight line as evidence of something strange in the car and revealed that his team’s top engineers, Adrian Newey and Paul Monaghan, have been asking FIA questions about what to consider and what may not be considered legitimate. case.
“Can I protest? Yeah, absolutely,” Horner said. “If we believe [Mercedes] the car is not following, we are going to protest, because the running of the straight lines we have seen in Mexico and Brazil – I think everyone seeing in Brazil was not uncommon.
“And yes, the new engine we know with the Mercedes comes with more work, but when you have a chance of 27 km / h and see the signs on the rear wings that have been written from the wings that have been changing, it is clear to us what has happened.
“Of course, that’s why it’s up to the FIA to make sure the traffic is compliant. If not, you are prosecuting if you believe a competitor is not following the rules.”
Wolff responded by saying he believed his team’s car was legal.
“I think no one can be seen on the track with an illegal engine or illegal rear wings; the world is in full swing, and you can make decisions in the best looking team that is not allowed, 100%,” he said.
Horner added that his team will continue to monitor Mercedes’ rear wings as it assesses the potential for demonstrations in the last three races.
“We will follow up on what is happening, and it will depend on what is happening this weekend, what we are seeing and the analysis we have done,” he said. “The reason it depends on what we see, and it’s not just used here because I think it’s very important in the next two episodes.
“But as a competitor, as I’m sure Mercedes knows, we’ve been monitoring our car all along and obviously doing the same. Obviously it’s very difficult, there’s a lot we have to do.” and we just want to make sure it’s the same game. “
At the end of a press conference, Wolff appeared to be calling for a demonstration from his enemy.
“If you have a suspicion because someone has told you something and you expect it to be the source, you should do so. [and protest], “he said.
“We have said that we have been guided 14 times on this back wing, the FIA has all the artwork and nothing Red Bull expects.
“So we are happy to send, cut – I can send you [Red Bull’s factory in] Milton Keynes ”…
Horner immediately responded: “So how do you define goals on the back wings?”
Wolff replied: “I think it’s within the range and it’s good.”
Expect more reviews of Mercedes’ rear wings in Qatar – all of which are changing as well as any “goals” or pressures that appear on its various parts. Also, although Losail is very fast, running in a straight line will be crucial for the new road network in Jeddah, meaning Red Bull can wait until Saudi Arabia takes action.
In their relationship
The animosity between the bosses of the two groups continues to escalate into the recent wars in the administration room, escalating into a heated debate over the past few years.
Asked where the harassment came from, Wolff said: “I think the competition is very high. You can’t expect to be eaten by your opponent or rival team or your opponent in a sport, regardless of what you do. Personality and morals.
“Nothing can be strange. This is as simple as it is. There are no bad ideas, no good ideas, his ideas are not politically neutral.”
To the same question, Horner said: “Look, Toto and I are very different people. We work in different ways, and, I think, will I have Christmas with Toto? Probably not, unless you’re on this pantomime I can have kids.
“But I think in my opinion it’s a tough competition, then Formula One. You don’t have to be a good partner with your opponents – how can you be?
Horner explained that Red Bull respects Mercedes but said it does not mean that team bosses should be good to each other.
“I think relationships and respect are two different things,” he said. “Of course there is a tribute to everything Mercedes did and there is a tribute to all that Lewis Hamilton has done, but I should not go out to eat with Toto or kiss his ass or anything like that. There are a few other dignitaries out there.
“I think it ‘s good to be here and fight for the world championship, and it’ s the first time in seven years to be challenged, so it ‘s growing, and I think the game is a great success. . “
Wolff added: “When it comes to boxing between teams, there are a lot of celebrities working in Red Bull and obviously a lot of celebrities working in Mercedes. It’s a firefight.
“There is a respect for Red Bull’s ability, of course, and it is clear that this is a challenge. It is a world-class competition for the top car racing, and what started as an Olympic boxer went to pro boxing and is now an MMA, but nothing.
“We are in a war where we are trying to do the best we can, the elbows are out now because the law says so, the gloves are off, and nothing can be expected.”