Mercedes and Red bull have been battling it out this season. Both on track and off as well. Jacki Plooij shines a light on the strained relations between the two title-contending teams.
Team bosses always have it out for rival teams during a season. The same applies for Team Principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner of Mercedes and Red Bull respectively. However, this season there is something different in the off-track rivalry of the two bosses.
What made the difference in the way the two team bosses have been addressing each other in public is the absence of the late great Niki Lauda. Lauda, who acted as a Non-executive Chairman for Mercedes used to correspond with Dr. Helmut Marko of Red Bull.
“Lauda had lunch with Helmut Marko every day. Then they sat together opposite each other, usually at Red Bull. And I think that a lot of fires were put out there that we never saw happen. But now we do,” The Dutch analyst explained. “I think Marko would now have been instructed by Lauda to keep Horner in his cubicle, while Lauda would do that with Toto. Then we didn’t hear it.”
Commenting on the current strained relationship between the two heads, Plooij cited the example of Silverstone earlier this year where Lewis Hamilton caused then championship leader Max Verstappen to have a high-speed crash.
— L (@charziu) July 19, 2021
“I think there are also reasons that this happens, just I’m not used to it from Wolff. He’s always a bit political and calm, but now it caused a b*tchfight between Horner and Wolff.”
A Season to remember
Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali described this year’s season as ‘one of the great seasons in F1’. The battle for the Driver’s championship is as close as ever, with Max Verstappen barely getting his neck in front of rival Lewis Hamilton with just a six-point lead. The gap for top spot in the Constructor’s championship is just 36 points in favour of Mercedes however even that may be in jeopardy considering the reliability issues they are facing.
Even the battle for the third spot between McLaren and Ferrari is as intense as it can be with the gap being just 7.5 points in favour of McLaren. Again, in this battle, both teams have had their ups and downs this season and the lead has changed hands multiple times.
“It’s fantastic for Formula 1 to have such an intense fight, but I don’t want to only focus on that, as we have the fight for other positions,” continued the F1 CEO.
“McLaren and Ferrari, for example, are battling hard for third and we have battles all the way down the field, with the final positions in the constructors’ championship critical for teams regarding their positioning for the future.” Max and Lewis will battle it out once more this weekend as Formula One goes to Austin, Texas in the US GP.