Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says Red Bull needs to stop moaning about his team’s dominance of Formula One.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner yesterday predicted “a two-horse race at every grand prix this year” in the wake of Mercedes’ crushing start to the 2015 season in Melbourne. He called on the FIA to act to prevent a yawn-fest, but is fully aware of how his comments will be viewed given Red Bull’s success in the four years before last season, when Mercedes took over their position of dominance.
“When we were winning – and we were never winning to the advantage they have – double diffusers were banned, exhausts were moved, flexible bodywork was prohibited, engine mapping mid-season was changed,” said Horner, recalling steps taken to negate his team’s performance.
“Is it healthy to have this situation [now]? The FIA, within the rules, have an equalisation mechanism and it is perhaps something we need to look at. Mercedes – take nothing away from them – have done a great job. They have a good car, a fantastic engine and two very good drivers. The problem is the gap is so big you end up with three-tier racing and that’s not healthy for F1.”
Wolff retorted: “If you try to beat each other and perform at the highest level and then you need equalisation after the first race – you cry out after the first race – that’s not how we’ve done things in the past. I think, ‘Just get your fucking head down, work hard and try to sort it out’.”
He then added quickly: “I didn’t mean the F-word in relation to him [Horner].”
Asked whether he feared another political season, Wolff said: “It is always a political season. It was last year and it is this year. There is this wall in Jerusalem that you can stand in front of and complain. Maybe the guys should go there.”
Sebastian Vettel revelled in his new role at Ferrari after putting his nightmare final season at Red Bull behind him to finish third on his debut with the Scuderia.
“I have been secretly a fan, now officially I can be a fan,” he confessed. “It was great already on parade lap. I think the Ferrari flags were there before, but I didn’t pay much attention obviously when I was a Red Bull driver. Now it’s an honour to sit in the red car. When your head is down and you try to push every single lap, you don’t realise the colour so much, but when the chequered flag came out it was a great feeling.”
Another savouring a great drive was rookie Felipe Nasr, whose Sauber team surprised everyone with the competitiveness of their cars. “I’m very happy with fifth position in my first ever Formula One race,” Nasr said. “It’s such a big relief for the team and myself that we are able to score points. It was a tough race and right after the start it was quite messy in turn one, as another driver hit my wheel. But everything was fine. After that, the race went according to plan. It was an emotional result for me and everyone in the team.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, third in the championship last season, suffered the indignity of being lapped by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg right at the end of his home grand prix. The RB11’s driveability was very poor throughout but at least the Australian took eight points for his team.
“It wasn’t easy to drive around here,” Ricciardo said. “I was fighting to try to get around the Sauber but we just didn’t have the legs. The car’s just inconsistent.”
Jenson Button completed his first race distance in the troubled McLaren-Honda and said: “We’re not going to say we’re happy with 11th but it’s a massive step for the team to finish the race after the minimal testing we had.
“We’re nowhere near where we want to be, but this is progress and now we have lots of useful data. I didn’t think I was going to finish today – I was surprised to see the chequered flag – so if you look at it like that it’s a good result.”Reuse content