Red Bull team principal Christian Horner once again speaks his mind about Mercedes’ ‘manipulating’ of messages and their off-track politics.
Red Bull and Mercedes have been locking horns all season long, both on and off the track. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are engaged in a fierce battle on the track, and so are team bosses Christian Horner and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff off the track.
With just eight points separating Driver’s championship leader Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, Christian Horner believes that winning this championship would trump all past championships for Red Bull.
“I think this would top everything just because of the intensity of it,” said Horner to the Daily Telegraph. “Because of the quality of our opposition. Remember, 60 per cent of Mercedes’ car is a carryover from last year. And last year was the most dominant car they’ve ever had. So the way this team has reacted has been phenomenal.”
Horner has been team principal for the last 17 years and has faced a plethora of opponents in his long time in the sport. However, he claims that Mercedes is unlike any other opponent he’s faced.
“When we were fighting Ferrari or McLaren… Stefano [Domenicali] ran Ferrari back then and there was always a handshake, you know, after the race. It was different.” explained the Red Bull boss.
“This one has felt very political off track—the positioning, the posturing, the politicking of the governing body, of the drivers and teams. Maybe we’ve been a bit naive, because for us, it’s been all about what’s going on on the track.
“And then you find, when you are under attack you have to defend,” Horner added. However, Horner assures that there will be a handshake between the two at Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.
The Mercedes Machine
One point which is always a source of conflict between the two is the handling of situations by the stewards. Both teams feel they have been handled unfairly as compared to the other by the stewards.
According to Horner, Mercedes manipulate things that he says and make issues out of them that are big enough to get Red Bull in trouble. He referenced the incident in Qatar where he was called to the stewards for his comments made on a marshal.
“We don’t have huge departments of press and manipulators in the background. So I’m fending off whatever is incoming. Whereas some teams operate in a very different manner. They’ll spend their time, you know, manipulating a message,” said the British team principal.
“I think perhaps my comments were used to become pointed at a marshal which wasn’t the intention. But you know, these things get spun around. They get turned and they get twisted.”
Maybe the Horner vs Wolff area should be bigger
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“Incidentally, where is the consistency? The previous weekend, [Mercedes] basically told the race director to go f–k himself. My comments felt insignificant by comparison.”
Horner also mentioned that he believed that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton also tries to use provocative words to get into Max Verstappen’s head.
“Lewis continually drops his subtle little digs or provocations. But I think the great thing about Max is he doesn’t give a f–k. He is who he is,” concluded Horner.