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Mercedes seeking to move spotlight away from themselves, says Horner

NEWS STORY
24/03/2021

Christian Horner plays down Red Bull as favourite talk, insisting that Mercedes talking down of its 2021 contender is nothing more than gamesmanship.

While Valtteri Bottas assures us that the Mercedes W12 is "snappy and unforgiving", and Lewis Hamilton describes the Red Bull RB16B as a "different animal", other members of the German team, including Toto Wolff, James Allison, James Vowles and Andrew Shovlin have all talked down their 2021 contender, insisting that it's Austrian rival has the advantage.

Christian Horner, who - like the rest of us - has seen and heard it all before, believes the negativity coming out of Brackley is nothing more than gamesmanship, and that Mercedes remains the team to beat.

"There is no denying that after the smooth running of the three-day test in Bahrain, there seems to be an excitement out there that we can end Mercedes' seven-year dominance of F1," says the Briton. "But we had a debrief within the team after the test and it's fair to say we are a little more cautious on the subject and we cannot underestimate the size of the challenge ahead of us on many fronts.

"Of course, Mercedes are trying to move the spotlight away from themselves, which is all part of the game," he continues. "But the reality is they are the reigning seven-time world champions and it is down to us to close that gap and put up a fight.

"We know that Mercedes have not won by mistake for the past seven years," he adds. "They are a quality, class team that will be motivated to come back strong.

"We saw it a couple of years ago where there was a similar story during pre-season testing and then they smashed it out of the park at the first race in Melbourne.

"They had one of their strongest seasons last year and this year's car is an evolution of that, so let's see what we all have in Bahrain and the rest will follow.

"You cannot take anything for granted," he admits. "And at this stage, it is good that we have a solid basis from which to develop the car, rather than fixing an inherent problem."

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1. Posted by kenji, 24/03/2021 23:58

"The 'argy bargy' between Horner and Wolff is just a rerun of the same old same old. Nothing new to see here. If only we could see some resurgence of other teams to make a serious go of it it would be most welcome."

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