McLaren boss felt the relationship between the two main competitors hit an all-time low creating the most ‘toxic’ season since Prost/Senna.
The 2021 season will easily go down as one of the most exciting seasons in Formula 1’s recent history. People had hoped to see a new challenger rise and put an end to the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes and this season finally saw that happen.
The budget cap, new regulations, and a car worthy of challenging the Mercedes all led to us ultimately finding a new champion in the form of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The 22-race long season provided fans with an exhilarating battle between the two championship protagonists but it also featured a lot of words exchanged on and mainly off the track.
While the relationship between Verstappen and Hamilton became strained after the clash in Silverstone, further incidents throughout the year did not help it become any better.
Another area where a lot of words were exchanged, possibly even more than the drivers themselves, were the team principals, Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff. Their fiery exchanges had even other team bosses turning their heads around.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown had an eventful 2021 season. Apart from the performance of his own team, he regards this past season as one of the best to have happened in a fairly long time.
“It’s been an incredible year from first to last place on the grid. There have been a lot of fights, starting with the battle between Lewis and Max for the title,” said Brown.
“I don’t remember a year that has been so toxic between two drivers and teams since the Senna/Prost era.”
Team bosses weren’t any better
The conduct of the two rival team bosses at the top certainly astonished the entire paddock including the Mclaren team. Earlier in the season, Andreas Seidl expressed his displeasure with the way Christian Horner spoke about the marshals in Qatar.
#F1: Andreas Seidl says he would never allow his team to unleash the kind of criticisms that earned Christian Horner an FIA warning at last weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix.
— deni (@fiagirly) November 25, 2021
Zak Brown has also voiced his opinion on the increasingly sour relationship between the bosses of Mercedes and Red Bull. Brown believes that there is a real sense of enmity between the two.
“They definitely have a real repulsion for each other.”
2021 also a season of many positives
Despite all the negativity, Zak Brown in true McLaren fashion chose to look at the bright side as well. The team in papaya orange had a strong season which meant a lot to them considering their form in the recent few years.
The team’s finest moment was of course the McLaren one-two which they achieved in Monza.
“Monza was great because McLaren did a double,” said the American CEO, unable to contain his smile.
Chances of getting a tattoo when Daniel Ricciardo joins your team: 📈
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) October 23, 2021
“Also Alpine won in Hungary in an unexpected way, among other stories: Aston Martin went way back and Williams made up positions.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domicalli reported that this season brought in a record viewership of 2 Billion. Despite this staggering number, Brown feels that the best is yet to come for Formula 1.
“I don’t think Formula 1 has ever been this exciting. And I think it’s going to get even better,” he said.