We must ensure paranoia doesn't creep in, admits Horner


As the 2023 title fight shapes up to be a straightforward battle between the Red Bull drivers, team boss, Christian Horner admits that it is vital that driver paranoia doesn't creep in.

Whatever one's thought's about the Austrian team being built around Max Verstappen, much as it was around Sebastian Vettel, the fact is that Sergio Perez is slowly becoming a genuine rival for the title.

Over the years we have seen many such intra team rivalries, some working out a lot better than others, indeed the aforementioned situation between Vettel and his then teammate, Mark Webber being a prime example.

All eyes are on Red Bull to see how they manage the situation, and Toto Wolff, who has been through it all before, doesn't envy his rivals.

"I can tell you from my past, it's a super tricky job for Christian and the team," said the Austrian, “because both drivers will obviously try to always feel that they're fairly and equally treated, whilst at the same time, trying to have an advantage.

"In our team, it was important to maintain a lot of transparency and clarity, discuss things before we actually go racing on a Sunday. Put boundaries.

"At the end, both drivers, even with Nico and Lewis, respected the team's opinion, whilst we acknowledge that they have a fight between the two of them. So going back in time, there's things I probably would have done differently in 2016, particularly, but the balance right between accepting these two guys are racing for a championship, and it's within the same garage. And at the same time, they are part of a larger structure. I think that is not always easy, because they are very competitive animals."

"We just do everything Toto says but just a bit better," said Horner, to much laughter from the assemble journos. "No, look," he continued, "I think that it's a luxury problem, first of all. Wow, I think any team principal in the pit lane would hope to have that issue. And it's something we've experienced before.

"I think the most key thing is, as Toto was mentioning, is to ensure that paranoia doesn't creep in and that both drivers are treated equally.

"You go to pains to provide equality, to the point of who drives out the garage first each weekend, you know, it alternates. It even alternates in the debrief who talks first.

"But you know, it's racing is Formula 1, and occasionally something will happen like a Safety Car or a pit stop and you can't control every aspect within the sport. There are still variables. And I think so long as the drivers know that they're both getting an equal chance and it's ultimately down to what they do on the circuit, that's where you want it to play out, not through reliability, for example, to play a key role in a championship fight between your two drivers within your own team."

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Published: 06/05/2023
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