The Mercedes-Red Bull rivalry runs far deeper than Hamilton vs Verstappen

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Born less than two years apart, Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner are both driven by competition.

Both competed at international level prior to assuming executive roles in Formula 1. Both set records for team principals, and every world championship title since 2010 – whether driver or constructor – has been overseen by one or the other.

Horner was once spoken of as successor to Bernie Ecclestone as boss of F1. Later, as revealed here two years ago, Wolff was in the frame for the same role under Liberty Media. Neither was appointed, and the word in the paddock is that each blamed the other for losing out.

Both represent companies that are leaders in their sectors, having effectively founded their industries: Mercedes, via parent Daimler-Benz the automobile; Red Bull the premium energy drink market after proprietor Dietrich Mateschitz tasted a local drink while suffering from jetlag in Thailand, recognised its potential and acquired the rights and recipe.

Mateschitz is staunchly Austrian and, once he made his fortune, partly used it to rejuvenate the Styrian region from which he hails. The Red Bull Ring is just one example of his local investment. Another is the upgrades to the Zeltweg airport situated within sight of the circuit: once reserved exclusively for military use, his funding provided the impetus to open the facility to civilian aircraft.

Mateschitz, pictured in 2017, occasionally attends races
His Servus TV station holds F1’s rights in the country – sub-leasing certain rounds to state broadcaster ORF – while the Red Bulletin is a premium lifestyle publication. Indeed, everything about Mateschitz’s operation is premium: from the chefs in his Hangar 7 restaurant situated alongside Salzburg Airport to the quality of materials and workmanship of his AlphaTauri fashion range. Similar premium standards apply to Mercedes.

In 2004 Mateschitz acquired the Jaguar Racing F1 team, renamed it after his product and appointed Horner as F1’s then-youngest team principal. Two years Mateschitz added Minardi, which was initially renamed Toro Rosso (Italian for ‘Red Bull’) but rebranded last season as AlphaTauri.

A coterie of top names in the sport sometimes dubbed the ‘Austrian F1 Mafia’ have passed through or stayed at both teams. Red Bull’s technical operations director during its first two years of operation was Guenther Steiner, an Italian of the South Tyrol region, a former Austrian province. The future Haas team boss was recruited to Jaguar from its sister Ford World Rally Championship team by Austria’s three-times F1 champion Niki Lauda, who was overseeing Jaguar at the time.

Lauda arrived at Mercedes in 2012 as non-executive director and played a key role in recruiting Lewis Hamilton from McLaren. In January 2013 Wolff joined Mercedes from Williams having been parachuted into that team (without prior experience) as a minority shareholder after incumbent Adam Parr left.

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Wolff, too is Austrian, having been born in Vienna to a Romanian father and Polish mother. Mateschitz’s F1 consultant Helmut Marko, the former driver who holds a doctorate in law, grew up in Graz and befriended Lauda and Jochen Rindt, posthumous winner of the 1970 world title, at an early age. He also mentored Gerhard Berger, Austria’s most recent grand prix winner.

The late Lauda secured Hamilton’s services for Mercedes
Berger, Red Bull’s first brand ambassador, joined BMW as motorsport director after retiring from the cockpit, and was approached by Mateschitz to partner him in acquiring Toro Rosso. They appointed the Bavarian team’s Tyrolean trackside operations manager Franz Tost, a former F3 race and driver manager to Ralf Schumacher, as team boss – a role he holds to this day with the AlphaTauri team

By then Steiner had been asked by Mateschitz to relocate to the USA to co-founded Red Bull’s NASCAR team before starting his own Fibreworks composites operation, which he ran until establishing Haas F1 Team on behalf of machine tool magnate Gene Haas for the 2016 season.

But it has taken until now for Mercedes and Red Bull’s paths to cross as true title rivals. Only this year have the Honda units Red Bull switched to after splitting with Renault been on par with Mercedes in most aspects – and potentially ahead in some – which has given rise to the most acrimonious rivalry between teams in over 10 years and arguably this millennium.

The animosity between the two team bosses – tempered by mutual respect in view of their respective achievements – and their teams is well documented, with both taking some very public jabs at each other over the years.

Wolff is perceived among the Red Bull clan as an opportunistic arriviste. To Mercedes, the fact a ‘mere’ drinks company is able to take the fight to the hallowed Three-Pointed Star grates. The hiring of a number of top engineers and managers by the nascent Red Bull Powertrains operations from Mercedes High Performance Powertrains situated just 50 kilometres away has hardly eased tensions. That Red Bull soon has full constructor status equal to that of Mercedes aggravates the situation.

Wolff was at Williams before running Mercedes’ F1 team
During this year’s Austrian Grand Prix saw a race-weekend edition of the Red Bulletin chronicle “The Secret Life of Toto W”, going to pains to list some of the exploits of “Torger Christian Wolff” as a former race and rally competitor – on occasion with Red Bull backing. That said, the visuals featured some heavy crashes the “young man with nice hair and a plastic watch” was involved in.

Given the complex compatriotic relationships between so many of F1’s major players, is it any wonder that such ‘needle’ exists between Mercedes and Red Bull, that each relished any opportunity of side-swiping the other?

A paddock source with inside knowledge of the various relationships is adamant that there is unbridled loathing amongst certain individuals. He used as example an Austrian Grand Prix race day breakfast organised a few seasons back by ORF for the full Austrian contingent.

The event was not repeated after certain individuals refused to be sat next to others. That the breakfast happened at all was amazing, for at first the venue – Red Bull or Mercedes – was under dispute before the former was eventually agreed upon.

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Prior to the explosive collision between Hamilton and Max Verstappen at Silverstone came the controversy over Red Bull’s rear ‘flexi-wings’, sparked by comments made about Red Bull’s devices after this year’s Spanish Grand Prix. That one rumbled on until this year’s French Grand Prix – where deflection tests were tightened – with Horner hitting back by suggesting that the Mercedes front wings also flexed.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Red Bull fumed over rear wing rules change
“You can’t look at one part in isolation and say that set of rules applies only to that element on that car,” he said, adding, “I think if I was Toto with the front wing he’s got on his car, I’d keep my mouth shut.”

True, Wolff has enjoyed the longer run of successes, but that could be put down to Red Bull’s lack of competitive power units. The team relied on Renault power for five of the hybrid seasons, during which period they proved no match for the Mercedes units. When Red Bull in 2015 came knocking at Mercedes for power units, Wolff is said to have blocked their overtures despite co-director Lauda having been in favour.

That was, of course, totally understandable when seen purely from Wolff’s perspective, for Red Bull have oft been deemed to have the better chassis – designed under the guidance of Adrian Newey – and would have been difficult to beat if combined with the then-gold standard hybrid engine. Thoughts of Hamilton in a Mercedes-Mercedes versus Verstappen in a Red Bull-Mercedes (or Mercedes-Mercedes, for that matter) remain tantalising.

Silverstone marked a new low, where Red Bull’s title hopes suffered a massive blow technically, sporting wise and commercially in the 51G accident which will have cost Red Bull over a million bucks to repair by the time all is replaced. Plus, as it subsequently transpired, a near-certain engine penalty in the future as a result of the damaged power unit.

As is their right in terms of the International Sporting Code Red Bull requested a review of the penalty based on their conviction that the penalty was too lenient. Independent sources with knowledge of their submission state that at no stage had Red Bull made any accusations of wilful intent on the part of Hamilton.

Fans' Hamilton banner, Hungaroring, 2021
Report: Hamilton expects “strong talks” over “unacceptable” comments by Red Bull management
Yet when the request for review was rejected last Thursday Mercedes issued a furious statement. “In addition to bringing this incident to a close we hope that this decision will mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton, including in the documents for their unsuccessful right of review,” it read.

Such haughtiness overlooks the fact that Hamilton had been “judged predominantly at fault” for the accident, and the review decision did not reduce his culpability in the eyes of the (same) stewards.

True, in the aftermath of the Silverstone crash Horner had reacted (too) emotionally albeit to some understandably so when seen purely from his perspective of a driver undergoing CT scans and a £1.3m bill. But his comments did not deserve the frankly ridiculous comments uttered by Lord Hain, who suggested they fuelled racist attacks on Hamilton on social media. One wonders who put the lord up to it.

This was nothing but cheap politicking on Hain’s part – pre-Brexit Red Bull had hosted Hain’s political party arch-rival Boris Johnson – and Hain’s implication was not only false and uncalled for but overlooked that Red Bull had condemned the racist comments.

The fact Red Bull had terminated its relationship with an employee who made racist comments was seized upon by Hamilton in Hungary as the war of words raged on. Insinuations Red Bull has a race problem are unfair, as perusal of the list of Red Bull’s global athletes competing in all genres demonstrates. Such comments perpetuate and ferment the ill-feeling between the teams and their drivers.

Luring Newey was an early coup for Red Bull
Yes, controversy creates interest and the sport’s television ratings are this year on a steep upward curve, but that is no excuse for some of the comments that have flown in all directions. The fact is that the intensity of the rivalry between the two factions has existed for over a decade now, probably having its roots in Red Bull knocking McLaren-Mercedes off its perch as top British-based team and recruiting Newey from Woking.

The McLaren-Mercedes partnership may be no more but folk have long memories. Current Mercedes president Ola Källenius was on the McLaren board prior to heading up the F1 powertrain company – and Red Bull and the current Mercedes F1 operation compete for the same personnel in the same country, particularly now Red Bull’s engine operation is gearing up just 30 minutes down the road from HPP.

Has the Mercedes-Red Bull rivalry gone too far, is it damaging the sport and should the FIA and F1 put a lid on it? Fans point to the Ayrton Senna-Alain Prost era as one of the most exciting in the history of F1, but that overlooks that the Brazilian is no longer with us. That said, the FIA is under different management now, plus enormous safety strides have been made.

It is up to the two factions to control their emotions, their drivers, their comments, and above all to keep their actions clean and ethical on- and off-track, at all times. When world titles are at stake – and the first possible defeat for Mercedes during the hybrid era – that is no easy ask, but teams are judged not by their actions in victory but by their comments in defeat. Thus far both have been found wanting.

The worst possible outcome would, though, be official intervention, for that would tarnish the season for both main protagonists, and, in turn the most exciting season in at least a decade, if not two.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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169 comments on “The Mercedes-Red Bull rivalry runs far deeper than Hamilton vs Verstappen”

  1. The worst possible outcome would, though, be official intervention, for that would tarnish the season for both main protagonists, and, in turn the most exciting season in at least a decade, if not two.

    The worst possible outcome is allowing it to escalate by not intervening.
    Which is what the FIA should have done after Silverstone.
    A precedent has now been set, taking out your main competitor in the world championship will not be punished approriately.

    The FIA acted as a poor referee and is the catalyst for making this possibly the nastiest, dirtiest and most politicised season in years..

    Nothing I considered to be part of a sporting competition.

    Reply moderated
    1. It’s been done for ages.
      Schumacher did it to Hill. Senna and Prost too many times.

      1. Hill did it to schumacher 2 times, (Monza and Silverstone 95)

        Reply moderated
    2. It feels like it is perhaps not just a case of some of those organisations standing by and allowing that escalation to occur, it feels as if perhaps there are those who are encouraging such escalation because they think that they will profit from it and are too focussed on the short term gains to think about the potential longer term ramifications.

      You can bet that Liberty Media loves the idea that this is generating a lot of headlines, and might even want to see fuel poured on the fire to stir up more media attention that helps them to sell the sport, whilst there may be those in the press that are seeing their ad revenue spike due to the increased traffic to their articles and work to the script that Liberty Media wants to present to the world.

      There are external parties with a profit incentive to create trouble and to create the sort of bitter, politicised and angry atmosphere around the sport right now, and unfortunately I think that is being given a bit too much leeway by some who should know better.

  2. Both teams should rather unite in a call for the rule change concerning penalties for overspending team’s budget after heavy crash and subsequent engine change. Current rules are not fair!

    1. Both teams should try to push for something in this. The cost cap should not include damages due to a crash. I am surprised the FIA did not even take this into account when deciding to implement the cost cap. The cap should only include development parts. However, that does not mean that one team needs to pay the repair of the other team in the event that their cars crash into each other.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        4th August 2021, 15:32

        I am sure after the Imola collision Toto mentioned they budgeted according to how the 2020 season went with regard to repairs and replacements.

    2. @bulgarian Fair or unfair, any rule change in this field wouldn’t get through during this season, i.e., for next season at the earliest.

    3. Why? The smaller teams have been fixing their own accident damage on lesser bugets for decades.

      1. I completely agree with @asanator — no way should the budget cap exclude the cost of repairs; the budget cap was introduced to try to level the playing field between the big teams and the smaller teams. Historically the smaller teams are the ones who brought in young talent, dealt with the mid-field battles, and consequently paid the cost of the repairs when those young drivers crashed. The bigger teams, with their big budgets, then would poach certain young drivers who have proven themselves in those small teams.

      2. @asantor Exactly right – all the teams agreed to this!

    4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      4th August 2021, 16:17

      I’m personally loving this season – incredible driving and a lot of suspense and drama!

    5. @bulgarian All the teams signed up for the rules and all should be aware of the risks of racing.

    6. Wow, that is such BS it could come straight from Horner’s or Marko’s hype machine (Toto would word it differently, but for the same nonsense goal – to spend as much as they have available) @bulgarian @krichelle

      As @asanator rightly brings up, teams who can less afford to do so have had trouble finding the money for repairs for ever, why not have the top dogs face the same issue of having to choose where to put their money instead of just winning by outspending. And as @freelittlebirds mentions the season has really been great so far wit top action on track, a very solid dose of suspense, drama and insinuations between the teams to give us a nice and tense background to that.

      An incredibly important difference to what @dieterrencken reminds us of with the situation between Senna and Prost however seems to be that there is no real acrimony between the drivers at the core of this rivalry (at least so far). Both Hamilton and Verstappen have actually more or less kept out of the most heated arguments, and seem to want to just go about the racing for the most part. Them not being in the same team probably makes it easier too, since either can just retract into their own space inside a team of supporters.

      1. @bascb As per an article here on this site a few weeks ago, there is something to the concept of perhaps them at least considering discussing further within F1 issuing harsher penalties depending on the outcome of the incident, particularly because of budget caps. As @krichelle points out, would there be any harm in, let’s say, a team like RBR, who end up with a huge repair bill from an incident in which it was deemed not a racing incident but predominantly another drivers fault, to have that not included in the budget cap? The same could be said for the lesser teams too. And let’s remember that the goal here in the long run is to have the lesser teams be less lesser than in the past. F1 is offering better money distribution now, and wants to build itself back up so that lesser teams have a chance to actually feel they can grow to fight for podiums in a reasonable amount of time, as well as any new teams feeling the same way. Perhaps in five years most teams will have a similar budget, and I don’t think there is much wrong with the points @krichelle makes.

  3. From my point of view I would say RB have come out looking worse than Merc. Also they attacked Hamilton for the very same reason they applaud Verstappen. I didn’t like the way either Principle made such a public show of trying to influence the stewards. But I believe they have the right to present new evidence to support an appeal.
    It was a racing incident that was turned into a mud slinging bitch fight. I hope both party’s have learned something from it and move on.

    1. I agree both teams need to shape up but believe the Mercedes brand was more hirt than RedBull. The latter being an energy drink, rough, disruptive. All things that fit a rivalry. Mercedes however have dominated the sport for a long period and start whining the second there is a hint of competitiveness (just one car, one guy from the 18 others). Before this season I was a huge Toto and Mercedes fan, but can’t be anymore. .

      1. Before this season I was a huge Toto and Mercedes fan, but can’t be anymore.

        Must you repeat this in every comment of yours? You think they care?

        1. Apologies for airing my disappointment too often.

      2. Before this season I was a huge Toto and Mercedes fan, but can’t be anymore.

        Noticed your comments were of a non-Mercedes/Hamilton fan, and remembered you being a fan. So, what happened?

        1. Yes, Hamilton fan since day 1. What a driver. The season Rosberg won changed my view on him as a person, not as a driver. He showed a need for playing mind games and I couldn’t see it other than a weakness he had to resort to. He sounded so stressed when things didn’t go his way. Easily blaming his team when things go south, while he owes them a great deal. His entitlement attitude became increasingly annoying (to me that is). I mean his talent is certainly worth 3 to 4 WDC, but some of the 7 and soon 8 he should be able to reflect on as ‘luck by domination of the car’. The next generation drivers show so much more authenticity and vulnerability. In fact most athletes do, watching the olympics now. Yet Hamilton needs to always display an image of perfection. The next thing that didn’t go well was how he handled (or rather coped with) the entry of Max into the sport. I don’t know why but for some reason since day 1 he got under his skin. Calling him ‘guy’ pretending not to know his name and stressing aggressive driving and all. Why? He was no different. Not a millimeter. Lauda complained about the young Lewis too. They are all new. I guess it is maybe hard to take when you take a brilliant victory in the wet in Brasil and everyone is talking about Max’ race. There were multiple similar occasions I remember. I guess that is not nice to experience but he is still a multiple WDC. So I just expected more calmness from his side. Instead he started the Roberging right away. 
          As for this season: I am disappointed Lewis not showing more class and skill but rather residing to complaining and playing the underdog while you blatantly are not (has anyone seen the second RB at the front of the pack?) is just tiresome. And then Silverstone and Hungary. I felt (others may of course feel different) he should have owned up to Silverstone. Especially since it was his third exact similar move taking out a RedBull. Own up &  no biggy then. He still would have all the benefits. The penalty points numbers don’t lie. It is no longer Max that makes mistakes, it is Lewis. Hungary protesting Alonso for taking a risk in a corner whilst the last episode you sent someone to the hospital in an ever faster corner.. just doesn’t add up. I guess it’s just hard to take for me that RedBull was disadvantaged so much (and more to come with grid penalties) and the Mercedes drivers causing it, benefited enormously. While they already had and have such an advantage. Beyond RB there isn’t a single car that can challenge Mercedes (or actually just one RB car). It is not the way to determine a championship while I know it is part of the show it still feels not right. So that makes it hard for me to cheer for him.

          1. You are 100% right Mayrton, same here!

          2. Complete load of rubbish inmho.

          3. Well said.

          4. I pretty much agree with every word.

          5. That is *exactly* how I feel to.

          6. Excellent piece.
            Agree

          7. I think you think that your amateur psychology you’ve performed on a man you’ve never met and only seen through the lens of social media is accurate.

            I doubt it is, you’ve just played make believe about him in your own head and are convinced it’s real.

      3. @Mayrton
        “Mercedes however have dominated the sport for a long period and start whining the second there is a hint of competitiveness”
        That is simply not true, the first five or six races everything appeared amicable with both teams publicly relishing the challenge.
        That’s hardly the ‘second there is a hint of competitiveness’, is it?

        Reply moderated
        1. Has there been any other car than the nr 33 battling with Mercedes this season? 1 out of 18 I call a hint of competitiveness yes

        2. As to the timing of the whining, they started immediately on the rake thing and then continued to state they are the ones that need to catch up, always in the underdog role. Thats simply not true. It is only ver that is able to get near. No one else has, no one.

          1. So you think the rear floor being targeted and Mercedes & Aston Martin being the teams hurt most by the regulation change was a complete fluke? If you think it wasn’t a targeted regulation change, then it says more about your agenda than it does about you being a “huge Toto and Mercedes fan, but can’t be anymore”

            There’s also the hypocrisy of Red Bull attacking Hamilton for the very thing Verstappen has been given a free pass for his entire career. Elbows out racing, they had to change the regulation because of Verstappen moving under braking, but that’s water under the bridge… right?

          2. In all fairness none of the teams had an idea what the change would do. Neither Mercedes or Aston voiced any concern relating to rake before the cars were taken out of the box. And overall, these things swing, like the Pirelli’s now in Mercs favour for the rest of the season. And Mercedes benefitting from a long period of no regulatory changes. And after 8 WCCs I guess I can live with shifting the balance a bit yes. As to the wheel to wheel racing, there is a difference between elbows out and precision driving. And that nuance seems lost on Lewis (ref his penalty points), hence my disappointment. And Max isn’t credited enough for understanding that nuance, as his non fans like to drag out his 17 & 18 year old season projecting it on todays Max. He is 24. He and we have moved on while Lewis & Mercedes try to keep that narrative alive.

            He moved the bar. This is a new era. Charles, George and Lando are at that level too. Hamilton must shape up or move on. Racing is done on the track, not with mind games off track.

          3. i can 100% certainly say that floor change came by chance a few accidents where mercedes cars had damage lost so much momentum (downforce/speed/stability), just the right amount being removed from the rear side floors where mercedes had the most significant impacts on performance cannot be just a coincidence! They have seen this on at least 2 occasions if i remember correctly…

            examples:
            australia
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feMbIT7SzTQ

            mexico
            https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/hamilton-mercedes-f1-floor-damage-cost-several-tenths-per-lap-4986658/4986658/

        3. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
          5th August 2021, 3:00

          They spent way more time developing the hybrid engine then anyone else, just as a rule change that restricted development came into place.
          They whined about tires when Ferrari were competitive and got their way, then suddenly dominated
          This season they’ve attacked pit stops, wings, and the Honda engine update and have usually got their way.

    2. Red Bull has always been about being edgy. I don’t find their recent remarks particularly surprising given the history of the team. It matches well with the 18 to 30 year old audience they are targeting.
      The viciousness of Mercedes after 7 years of complete domination has been a surprise however. It doesn’t match at all with their luxury brand image which targets middle to high-income earners who are in the midst of their careers.

    3. So bring race into it by pointing the finger at Lord Hain (who is still fighting the effects of apartheid and poverty through charity work) and Hamilton. Then bring up Boris Johnson because RB hosted him for nothing more than cheap political gain? That would be the same Johnson who uses derogatory names for those not like him. So rather than seeking cheap political gain like RB did with Johnson, maybe Hain was being informed in his comments by the recent news coming from the host company with the leaked racist map, the senior executives let go for their efforts at diversity and in making the company more inclusive, and the hundreds of employees who have sought reassurance given RB public silence on these matters?

      1. That was a stand alone comment, Not aimed at @johnrkh

      2. Agree completely. I appreciate the article but the opinion stated by Dieter is not acceptable here, you cannot absolve Red Bull of blame for Hamilton’s racist abuse.

        1. Racists are to blame for Hamilton’s racist abuse. I do not believe Red Bull are racists.

          1. Hmmm suggest you take a closer look at the happenings in the wider Rb group.

            They have some issues far beyond the race team

          2. @drgraham – Specificity, please. I do not blame Red Bull for the actions racists take against Ham, but I’m willing to listen.

          3. I suggest you look at the recent reports in the US media regarding how RB senior execs have found themselves on the wrong side of diversity to put it mildly.

            I hate laziness in commentary. Two minutes with google and you have what you need. I do not see why every comment on any topic regarding this company and it’s personnel requires triangulated evidence coupled with detailed analysis from everyone bar the person who takes issue.

            Try to do a little work and decide for yourselves, a further educated person who can then comment from a personally arrived at decision.

            My sources might just be biased after all…

          4. @drgraham – Laziness in commentary is precisely what led me to request specificity, which you still haven’t provided. I’m sorry to have asked you to support your point of view, which is something RB critics on this issue seem to have trouble doing directly without taking silly shots at those who question their conclusions.

          5. No @griffin.

            The reason you persist here and elsewhere in demanding everyone reference what is being reported comprehensively around the world for your immediate attention is because you “don’t believe RB are racist” and do not wish to have your opinion and belief challenged.

            For reference I do not believe the whole of RB are racist but they are certainly struggling with some systemic issues that show issues at a higher level than the race team

            Dieter does little above other than run a puff piece for RB by ignoring such.

          6. @drgraham – I enjoy & welcome having my opinion challenged. It’s my opinion that Red Bull are not to blame for the racist abuse received by Hamilton following Silverstone; it’s also my opinion that Red Bull are not racist. You’ve been critical of my opinions (and of me), but haven’t actually challenged them – in fact, you sort of agreed, for reference, with the idea that Red Bull aren’t racist. I’m sorry you didn’t like Dieter Rencken’s excellent article.

        2. If critism on a driver the same as a call for racist abuse you are the racist.
          Racism is not something only “white” people do or only “black” people endure.

    4. @johnrkh The thing is, it wasn’t deemed a racing incident officially. And that makes a big difference. If it had been a racing incident that would have meant the incident would have played out differently than it had, and there would have been something different enough in it to make it a 50/50 situation. So given that it was not deemed a racing incident, that is what swayed debate and opinion and of course made it heated, especially for RBR, the aggrieved party as the victims in spite of LH’s penalty.

      I think we have to appreciate what Horner said was in the heat of the moment, understandably, and appreciate that TW would have likely been just as incendiary had LH been the one sent into a wall and the points swung very far away from them. CH said words to the effect LH made an amateur move, but didn’t call him an amateur as some have liked to spin it. He didn’t bring race into it whatsoever. Others have inferred it. He never called his move intentional. He may have said it was ‘like’ a professional foul, and that is the harshest thing he said, but he also said ‘a driver of his calibre…’ implying he fully respects and understands LH’s Championship status.

      Bottom line for me, CH said his harshest things in the heat of the moment, and those things were understandable, imho, and of course depending on the team and driver one supports, that is very much going to sway what one person’s opinion is over another. I think what should be considered for CH in his heat of the moment stuff was things that lead up to it such as LH and TW calling them out from the getgo, for being advantaged as a high rake car with the floor reg change, for their rear wing, for their tire pressures, for their ‘engine upgrade,’ for their fast pit stops. And on top of that LH, according to the Sky commentators had as much as said he was not going to back off anymore.

      There’s a history for sure, and I don’t think more heat of the moment comments will be avoided if there are continued incidents such as Silverstone and Hungary, both incidents where a Mercedes driver was the penalized one, and yet RBR suffered hugely for it. Given the results in the standings, I think CH’s comments, when the outside rhetoric from those with an opinion is removed, were understandable, and RBR do not come out worse for reacting just as any team principal in the same situation would.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        4th August 2021, 20:53

        @robbie I think your point is valid. The whole issue did originate with the stewards. When you make the wrong ruling, you’re going to cause a riot and this is exactly what happened. It was obvious that Horner didn’t think it was Lewis’ fault when he watched it but then he saw an opportunity to try and capitalize on the whole “blame” thing especially after Lewis won the race and see if he can get a race ban – I’m guessing that was Marko’s idea.

        A race ban for a racing incident where his own driver had 3 mistakes in that corner alone and Lewis was just minding his own business…

        But as you said, the stewards were cuckoo and made the silliest decision in an effort to appease Red Bull and be in their good graces. What followed after that was nothing short of absurd with Horner claiming that Lewis braked 23 meters too late when Max was ahead of him (even during the impact) and therefore had braked even later.

        Someone even lost their job at Red Bull after believing what the stewards and Horner had said and making some inappropriate remarks.

        A real shame all around and I’ve always said that the stewards should be more accountable.

        Reply moderated
        1. @freelittlebirds Lol nice try but of course my point, and the reality, is that the stewards officially deemed it predominantly LH’s fault, and of course Max and CH would think he was wholly at fault. That you disagree with the stewards ruling is fine, but is in fact folly since the ruling was what it was, and even upon review did not get changed. So lol to your suggestion that I said the stewards were cuckoo etc etc.

          Reply moderated
  4. Rivalry and certain level of controversy are fine, but some of the displays presented by both teams lately were almost childish.

  5. Has the Mercedes-Red Bull rivalry gone too far, is it damaging the sport and should the FIA and F1 put a lid on it?

    These 2 teams’ rivalry is indeed reaching stratospheric levels. But I don’t think FIA / F1 need to involve themselves at a holistic level. They should only be involved for specific incidents – wing flexing, Silverstone crash – where their involvement is merited.

    It is not FIA / F1’s job to diffuse the overall tensions between the 2 teams.

    Both the teams are wise enough to know when to draw a line, how much to spend, which rules to bend. And they respect each other enough that no one will go below the belt (racism, endangering safety of drivers).

    Let the rivalry flow and take its natural course. No one is going to get harmed in this.

    1. Are you sure? Some of the fans are getting extremely histrionic and abusive – in the heated atmosphere of the stands, it may only take a couple of hot headed fans going a bit too far for words to turn to blows.

      1. anon,
        Just to add that there Richard Verschoor have already denounced Dutch fans on social media that are organizing in order to throw tomatoes at Lewis in the Dutch GP.

        1. Yes, he’ll need a tomato shield after he wins at Zandvoort.

          1. Do we need football rules where teams are penalized for fan misbehaving @greenflag, with maxf1fans I do wonder a bit, almost

  6. I agree everyone need to keep their actions clean and ethical on-track. But unless it’s about racist remark, no one should be policing drivers and teams emotions and comments.

    1. @ruliemaulana

      Its 2021, everything is racist! Where have you been?? What year are you living in?

      1. @jaymenon10 AWS should tap to conversation of every people working on F1 and score how racist it was on the fly.

        1. Lol that would be novel insight @ruliemaulana, though probably just as much an unjudgeable black box as most of them are

  7. I’m worried about the fairness about the championship, in the hybrid era we had a fairly close one in 2014 but only in the driver’s title, surely if you consider there shouldn’t have been double points in the last race, 2015 was a walkover, 2016 incredibly close but hamilton probably should’ve won by a serious margin, 2017 46 points, hamilton was luckier but not enough to explain the 46 points, generally mercedes was a better car, 2018 around 80 points but vettel was terrible, the car was as good as merc, 2019 domination, 2020 even bigger domination, this about the driver championship.

    About the constructors, obviously 2014-2016 there was no competition, 2017 146 points or so, showing ferrari wasn’t up there, 2018 only 75 points or so, which consider all vettel’s blunders proves ferrari was there, 2019 and 2020 no competition.

    This year I estimated something like 53 points swing through bad luck for verstappen and 29 bad luck for red bull, so (obviously helped by still getting good points at baku with perez and bottas’ bad luck at monaco) it was a lot less unlucky in the constructors’ than in the drivers’, and there’s the risk hamilton wins the title with less than 53 points lead, which would be a travesty, as bad as rosberg winning 2016, I hope (if there’s no more unlucky events) that either verstappen and red bull can win this, or that merc and hamilton win by more than those points, so that bad luck didn’t make a difference.

    I explored the past years to see that since rosberg is gone and hamilton can only be challenged from outside the team (simply because bottas is too slow) only 2017 was within range of a situation where verstappen loses the title due to bad luck, the others are way too far for that to change anything, so we’ll see.

    As for the constructors’ bad luck no championship till 2014 or earlier was close enough to impact so far.

    1. Many times bad luck has cost drivers a championship in the history of F1 @esploratore1, I’m not sure why the hybrid era is some sort of cut off point for your analysis. The point is to be up there season after season so that you don’t rely on one single year in which to not get back luck, that way the luck tends to even out. Thankfully Red Bull are definitely playing the long game by acquiring the Honda powertrain, so they should be fighting for titles for a few years yet. Maybe Max won’t win the title this year, we’ll have to see. No matter what happens I guarantee everyone will be referring back to Silverstone as the turning point though. It doesn’t really matter what Max or Hamilton do in the following races to change the opinions of people anymore on whether they deserve the title, and that’s pretty sad in my opinion.

    2. Luck is a part of every endeavor, and it always has been. Any team worth it’s salt accounts for it, one way or another, and most certainly lives with it.

    3. IMHO Mercedes had a major advantage over all competitors from 2014 until now. They “acted” slower to give the audience a sense of competition, and to placate the FIA, but even today, they seem able to “improve” without changing the car. Restricting the engine modes, throttling the performance, deliberately limiting the set-up… Whatever.
      Vettel was poor in 19 and 20, his back broken by the politics? But the other years at Ferrari, I have the feeling he was just trying too much to compensate for the deficit to the Mercs. Mercedes won as slow as they could/dared, and when it counted they upped their performance. This year it’s Max’s turn to be the fox, and we’re halfway, so Mercedes will magically improve to take the championship. They’ve had a bit of “unforseen luck” this season, so they might not need to show their full potential.

  8. Obviously Dieter knows a lot more about this rivalry than me but I don’t really see anything in the article that explains why it should be a cause for worry let alone intervention by the FIA. A bit too dramatic?

    1. All I see in the article is that Wolff is taller than Horner.
      So I’m expecting one to have a sqeaky voice and the other a growl

  9. Another fine article, keep up the good work!

  10. My worry is how far these team leaders will go in their pursuit of winning, mind games are dirty tricks are part of F1, but where will it end. Any FIA intervention should be ensuring the current financial and technical aspects are followed at all times, even if it means extra scrutineering and book keeping.

  11. Yes, controversy creates interest and the sport’s television ratings are this year on a steep upward curve,

    I don’t think it’s the controversy that creates interest.

    It’s just that after nearly a decade of utter Mercedes dominance even the slightest hint of a possibly competitive season gets people to watch – until, AGAIN, the Mercedes goes to the front of the field.

    Reply moderated
  12. @dieterrencken I’m not sure what you’re trying to say with this sentenace, specifically that Senna is no longer with us and how that relates to the current situation between Red Bull and Mercedes. Can you expand more on it?

    Fans point to the Ayrton Senna-Alain Prost era as one of the most exciting in the history of F1, but that overlooks that the Brazilian is no longer with us.

    1. The implication is that a bitter rivalry encourages drivers to take more risks, which puts safety at risk.

      1. @drmouse If that is the argument, I don’t buy that Senna’s death can be tied to the bitter rivalry with Prost. Senna was killed after Prost had retired in ’93 and in a Williams that struggled to find pace and stability after the loss of active suspension. His death can be tied to a lot of things but I think tieing it to his rivalry with Prost is a stretch at best.

        1. Don’t think its anything to do with Prost. Just the need to keep up the Ham could have killed him from the same people who promoted and applauded the get out of my way or crash posture.

    2. Unchecked antagonism can certainly lead to unsafe outcomes is the lesson here. For instance, a bitter rivalry certainly had something to do with Gilles death. His team didn’t handle it until it was too late. That was a long time ago, but it would be nice if he were still around to add his opinion on issues like these.

      1. @ferrox-glideh If that’s what @dieterrencken is saying, I’d like him to say it.

  13. Thought I was reading Red Bulletin for a minute! What happened to Christian Horner insulting Lewis, calling it amateur and a professional foul? Helmut Marko calling for a race ban?

    And of course that kind of thing gives the racists an opening.

    1. @zann Those comments were made in the heat of the moment and had nothing to do with race of course. Racists are racists and are going to look for any opening, as you put it, to make it about race. CH and HM said nothing about race, and to indict them for inciting racism is ridiculous, and comes from those biased towards the matter and looking for any little thing that even just looks like a crack in the armour to pick at.

      1. I’m not saying Horner or Red Bull are racist @robbie, but saying it was a deliberate foul and the insults like it was amateur and dirty driving are denigration are they not? And then what is going to follow senior figures denigrating the only black driver? As night follows day. So they needed to quickly retract and apologise and they didn’t. Then Toto was bound to react.

        So for an article about the feud to omit all this does look like bias.

        1. And of course that kind of thing gives the racists an opening.

          Do they need an opening?
          A racist does not become a racist because horner blamed Lewis for his amateuristic move.
          That is utter rubbish.
          It’s even quite racist to connect the skin color of Lewis with such a remark. There is no connection whatsoever.

          1. you’re out of your depth @robbie. And this is why there’s nobody else here @keithcollantine

    2. When you get the line ”Wolff is perceived by the RB clan as an opportunistic arriviste’ and nothing to counter that, a politician who chairs a trust that helps the poverty stricken near Mandela’s homeland and a driver who invest millions in supporting disadvantaged being the bad guys in the race game , and a politician with a racist vocabulary and a billionaire whose company makes headlines in the Business Insider, Wall Street Journal, etc. for being on the wrong side of diversity; you soon realise what you are reading. Not that it should be any surprise.

      1. ian dearing,

        a politician who chairs a trust that helps the poverty stricken near Mandela’s homeland

        He also voted for the invasion of Iraq, though he regretted it later but nevertheless he contributed to transfer the country into the new hell on earth.

      2. “…you soon realise what you are reading. Not that it should be any surprise.”

        Please, elaborate.

        1. First part-Look at my comments and those of others who critiqued the one sided nature, the RB pr nonsense, the emotive language to steer you into the direction the author wants to guide you, etc.
          2nd part- Look at authors previous work.

          1. You haven’t defined “what” we are reading nor declared why we shouldn’t be surprised, you’ve only made implications – why not state clearly what you believe? I’ve seen the other comments & have read a good deal of this author’s previous work.

          2. I and others have pointed out many issues with this piece. And given a number of posters have responded to my posts they clearly understood what you fail to comprehend. And if you had read other pieces and the comments on them you will see certain criticisms and themes emerging. So give it a go again, and try to spot them this time.

          3. Again, point blank: What is it we are reading and why should it not surprise us? I’m terribly sorry I’ve failed to comprehend, and that is why I am asking a direct question.

    3. @zann

      Helmut Marko calling for a race ban?

      How is that not anti-raceist?

      1. I see what you did there ;)

      2. Lol but that would be ‘racISM ban’ @aapje. Trying to ban an entire race would be the last word in racism!

    4. Its fairly clear that Dieter has some sort of axe to grind with Toto. Id take any of his analysis involving Toto with a big pinch of salt, as we can see from his article above. I’ve noticed some frost between the 2 at various press conferences.
      Serious question Dieter: What’s the beef between you & Toto?

      1. One quick question: Do you still know where the Reply button is located? LEFT!

  14. Clearing Red Bull of blame is not constructive and not responsible.
    Red Bull work on engagement and PR, they are extremely adept at media engagement. The very strong criticism of Hamilton will have been known to inflame and divide social media. When you do that you will get extreme reactions, and for racists an extreme reaction is racism. Hamilton is the only black driver on the grid, so it is completely irresponsible to disregard this.

    1. @williamstuart So CH should have kept his heat of the moment comments in check because LH is black and he (CH) should have known, and should be able to control others’ racist behaviour? Rather I think CH’s comments were heat of the moment because of what happened on the track, and were understandable, and LH’s skin that happens to be the colour it is has nothing to do with it, and CH reacted just as any TP would in the same situation. Do you think LH would actually like and expect this preferential treatment because of his skin colour that you advise? Rather I would think that he just expects to be treated equally.

      1. @robbie I think you are wilfully misunderstanding the point and spirit of my comment. Of course it is not about Horner being able to control what racists will do, but you should know that inciting personal animosity to the only black driver will lead to racist abuse from all over the world. You can flip it around and say that you are giving Hamilton preferential treatment, yet he is also subject to preferential racial abuse. You cannot be so simplistic about things.
        Hamilton is not exempt from criticism, and you have every right to criticise him. But baseless, incorrect personal attacks that then lead to racial abuse are absolutely not acceptable. That does mean that it needs to be reciprocated for other drivers, so perhaps commenters need to grow up and stop with the antagonisation.

        1. that inciting personal animosity to the only black driver

          You do see this is a rather racist approach?
          I, like a lot of people I know, never ever looked at Lewis for his skin color. It’s a driver and a great one for that.
          Racists do not need incentives to stain the discussion.

        2. Maybe the answer is, instead, for the TPs not to incite personal animosity towards any driver, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality etc.

          The personal attacks from Horner and others could be considered “heat of the moment” right after the race, but they continue long after that. The TPs are in a position of responsibility and power. They should know how to keep their comments respectful, and they have entire teams of people to ensure they are putting things in the right words. Therefore the only conclusion to draw is that the later comments, at least, by CH etc were deliberate, planned attacks, and these should not be acceptable at this level.

          1. Agree completely @drmouse; now it has always been the way he and red bull F1 tend to go on the attack of road while working on the track stuff, but that doesn’t make it better. it wasn’t personal, it is just who we are. Yeah

    2. @williamstuart

      Clearing Red Bull of blame is not constructive and not responsible.

      Not responsible is playing a racist card when there is no problem with racism.

      We should be able to tell LH anything about his performance or behaviour etc., as he were the next person. Which in fact he is.

      Being very precocious in what you tell him or about him won’t help the racism discussion. In fact it will do the very opposite. And will be explained by some as positive discrimination.

      We are all equals, so we should act like that. And if there are racist individuals, we should correct their behaviour not our own.

      1. There clearly is an issue with racism since Hamilton suffered racial abuse. The UK is considered to be one of the most tolerant societies in the world, it is a diverse culture with a huge variety of cultures present in all walks of life. I had never experienced racism or discrimination – so believed in my head that the UK didn’t really have an issue, the average person gets along fine. But I am only white and so in what position am I to draw a conclusion? Racial abuse against the three black players after Euro 2020 showed that there remains a problem, and it may be hidden beneath a veneer of people that would never say anything in person, but feel they can express it through anonymity online.
        If this occurred in the UK, why would it not be an issue in other, less diverse and less tolerant societies? If you live in Bulgaria and do not know people from other races, you will never have seen racial abuse. You could then conclude that Bulgaria has no issue with racists.

        Racism is a real problem and we are nowhere near a tolerant planet, so we need to be mindful of not causing undue abuse of an individual where we can – which would in this case be for Red Bull not to attack Hamilton’s character and give an opportunity for racists to latch onto.

        1. @williamstuart you are right, racism is a problem. I don’t deny that at all.

          But if we can’t say what we think about an individuals performance/behaviour then the world is changing in the wrong direction.

          RB was not intending to fuel the discussion, only expressing there feelings about LH behaviour. If we can’t do that because someone can take that out of context and use it for racial abuse, I ask myself were is it going to end. And why should you not say these things to someone with a different skin colour than your own.

          LH is not helped by over sensitive and balanced comments. He should get the same comments as the other drivers should get.

          The fia says in there statements “we race as one”. And also “for inclusion and equality”

          So equality it is, on al levels.

          Let’s make a better world together
          #weraceasone

          1. The point is, fair criticism is perfectly fine. Red Bull turned criticism into hyperbole, into insinuations into outright fabrications and went on stirring the pot never walking back their demonstrably false statements and outright lies.

            When you lie about another person, make false and unfair criticism against them on social media, yes, you take on equal blame as the abusers because you directly caused the abuse.

          2. @williamstuart I haven’t willfully misunderstood the point and spirit of your comment at all. I understand it very clearly and I disagree with your stance and agree with what @hannesch is saying. Racists, and those eager to play the racist card at any hint of an opportunity, are going to do that no matter what Horner was going to say, which was of course understandably never going to be a glowing review of the man considering what happened at Silverstone. That is why I said he has no control over what happened post-Silverstone-incident and he certainly did not himself make it about LH’s skin colour. Others decided to do that on their own. And you are just as guilty by buying into the rhetoric and making it about his skin colour and singling LH out as needing special coddling. I think LH would be insulted by that, and would reiterate that he doesn’t want special treatment for himself nor other black people. Just equal treatment and opportunity.

          3. Will Jones Using hyperbole yourself will not get your argument across effectively.

            “When you lie about another person, make false and unfair criticism against them on social media, yes, you take on equal blame as the abusers because you directly caused the abuse.” This is what you have done towards Horner with your fabrications of what he actually said.

          4. @robbie I don’t think that LH should be coddled, or that special consideration should be given to him because of his skin colour or anything else.

            That said, in modern society it does take an opening for the racists to come out of the woodwork en masse. During the Euros, there was some level of racism towards certain members of the England team, but it shot up massively when they missed penalties. That gave an opening, and the racists took it. The bigger the opening, the more of these hateful people will take advantage to spew their vile opinions.

            LH attracts abuse often. He would have attracted a lot without the comments of Horner et al. However, in making the comments he did, CH made the situation worse. While this could be put down to the “heat of the moment” right after the crash, CH continued his assault on Hamilton’s character long after that could be considered a valid excuse. From that point on, he was purposely stoking the flames, and he must accept some responsibility for the reaction to that.

            I am not suggesting that LH be treated differently in consideration of the abuse he will receive. Personally, I believe that team principals and others in such influential positions should not personally attack the character of any driver in the way that CH did to LH.

  15. Since each car now days only have 3 power units for the entire season it is a big blow to have a power unit damaged by the actions of another competitor.
    Perhaps it would be a good idea to allow a free engine change without penalties imposed for a car that suffers what now has happened for both Red Bill cars from Mercedes drivers actions.
    A rule like this would serve as a compensation for the cars having their power units damaged in this way as to the opposite from now when the damage is compounded by the penalty from having to take a new power unit.
    Also it would perhaps put some restrain on drivers causing accidents which damage opponents cars.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      4th August 2021, 15:30

      When an engine has an approximate life of 8 meetings how do you stand on a team getting a new engine after it has completed 6 races especially if you are a team that normally does better but is now slightly disadvantaged?

      1. You forget about the accident also causing a DNF. That weighs heavier than the engine performance gain vs the grid penalties. A team that choses a DNF over a grid penalty on a track of their choice is stupid.

    2. I think this is a good idea, however it runs into a few issues when thinking deeper. For example, could someone ‘do a piquet’ with an old engine and effectively get a new one? The sentiment is spot on, but the devil is in the detail and having thought about it a bit, I’m not sure of the solution personally.

      1. If the opponent who caused the damage is penalised for it, the conclusion is easy.

        1. But is it?

          The assumption is that Verstappen’s engine was damaged as a result of his crash at Silverstone. However, Honda flew the engine back to Japan, checked it and said it was OK (I appreciate the limits of what they could check). Verstappen uses that same engine for FP1, FP2, FP3 and qualifying before Honda find a crack between the engine and gearbox. How could that have been missed at the factory?

          Given Honda gave the engine the ‘all clear’ for Verstappen to use at Hungaroring, and he did, how do we decide when the engine was actually damaged? It could just as easily have been damaged during practice or qualifying. Proving exactly when the engine was damaged would be nearly impossible.

          One other thing, we’ve still not heard definitively that Perez or Verstappen’s #2 engines are kaput. Red Bull are milking this for all its worth. My view is that it will be very surprising if any team can avoid engine penalties this season.

          1. Precisely. This cannot be brought in without serious discussion about how to judge and regulate it. You cannot simply say “Driver A collided with Driver B, so Driver B gets a new engine and chassis paid for by Driver A’s team”. That would likely lead to game playing and other problems, as well as much bigger off-track arguments about fault (there are few protests as things stand, there will be a lot if this comes in). It needs to be thought out and planned into the regulations, which is unlikely to be possible for a mid-season rule change (even if they could get unanimous agreement to be able to do so).

            Also, I note that few were in favour of this previously, even when the midfield and lower teams had a massive chunk of their whole year’s budget wiped out by a crash, or lost points which could cost a place in the WCC, in turn reducing their budget for the next year. Constrained budgets and limitations on parts have always existed, and it has always just been accepted before now.

  16. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th August 2021, 16:15

    Fascinating read – I even learnt a new word “arriviste” :-)

    A paddock source with inside knowledge of the various relationships is adamant that there is unbridled loathing amongst certain individuals. He used as example an Austrian Grand Prix race day breakfast organised a few seasons back by ORF for the full Austrian contingent.

    The event was not repeated after certain individuals refused to be sat next to others. That the breakfast happened at all was amazing, for at first the venue – Red Bull or Mercedes – was under dispute before the former was eventually agreed upon.

    Unbridled loathing amongst certain individuals? Who were these individuals?

    Who didn’t want to sit next to each other?

    We need to get the bottom of this:-)

  17. I’m not sure it’s very balanced to describe the Mercedes statement about Hamilton’s integrity being questioned as “haughtiness” but then dismiss Horner’s inflammatory comments post race as being understandably emotional.

    1. @oweng Well it was haughty of them to claim LH’s sporting integrity was brought into question without admitting it was LH’s penalized act that actually did that. And nothing in the review changed that outlook. CH’s heat of the moment emotion was understandable, being well, you know…heat of the moment, and given what they lost as a team for LH’s penalized move.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        4th August 2021, 17:53

        @oweng
        Robbie just validated your statement ;-)

      2. Davethechicken
        4th August 2021, 19:32

        Heat of the moment? When he suggested Hamilton had made an amateur’s mistake, desparate a professional foul, was it not when interviewed after the race?
        The “moment” had passed. Heat of the moment means at the time of the incident, not an hour or two later!!

        1. And at that point, Verstappen was still in hospital, and they did not know the extent of how the accident had affected him.
          Also, as Hamilton had been judged to be predominantly at fault, it was an entirely valid point of view

          1. And at that point both Mercedes and the FIA were informed by a senior figure within RB that Max had no injuries and was fine. (Whilst someone else within RB was telling the press and the Verstappen’s something completely different)

          2. They knew he was fine, doctors don’t let concussed people have their phones and post on social media until they know that they are in fact, not concussed.

          3. Davethechicken
            6th August 2021, 13:25

            It was precautionary, as you well know! Smacks of being sensationalist to claim “he sent another driver to the hospital”.
            Max was not seriously injured! Hardly the first time a driver has gone for precautionary checks now is it?

        2. Davethechicken One only needed to see CH’s face and his demeanour to see that he was understandably steaming at the events and outcome of the day, as would any TP be. It is nonsense to suggest that post-race meant the heat of the moment was over. It took until the post-race for them to officially know that LH had finished and won, for example. To say what you have is simply coming from not being a fan of CH or RBR or Max or what have you.

          1. @robbie CHs vicious comments about LH continued way after the end of the race, long after can even tentatively be called “heat of the moment”.

            Added to which, he’s a team principal, a high up member of an organisation who is very used to choosing his words carefully and having PR staff coach him. Even in the heat of the moment, he could have moderated his language and not made personal attacks against a driver.

          2. Davethechicken
            6th August 2021, 13:28

            Disagree. I do agree Horner looked angry and probably still is. Nonetheless his driver had no serious injuries and he had lots of time to cool his head.
            I am quite sure you couldn’t use the heat of the moment argument in a court if one committed a crime 2hours after an event. Might even be argued as premeditated!

          3. @drmouse I just don’t think his comments could be described as ‘vicious’ and given that he is a team principal I think that allows him some leeway to be highly affected by how badly damaged his car and team were in the Championship bid. “Personal attacks” is also one strongly worded way of saying it, or one could call CH’s words “harsh criticism” against a driver that was penalized for his act, and who should have known better. CH also used the words “a driver of his calibre…” being careful to show that he acknowledges LH’s status as a driver. I don’t think the verbiage would be any different from TW had it been a reverse outcome for them, especially sitting there some 60 points back after Silverstone had it been Max that hit LH and sent him into a car destroying contact with the tire barrier. Nor would fans have been kind to Max.

            Davethechicken That Max had no serious injuries is beside the point. He could have been badly hurt. Since you like to use crime analogies that is like saying the armed bank robber didn’t get away with too much money, so therefore it wasn’t really much of a crime. Let’s go lightly on him. And of course aside from Max, the car was destroyed and they lost huge points, and to add salt to the wound LH’s penalty was light, they got to repair their car under the red flag they caused, and he went on to win. I defy any of CH’s detractors to do any better verbally, put in his shoes. Getting away from the literal heat of the moment stuff, would it be any surprise if this ate at CH for the rest of the day, likely cost him sleep that night, and perhaps for a few days following, given the overall outcome of Silverstone for them, which had looked so promising until the incident.

          4. Davethechicken
            7th August 2021, 17:21

            Robbie, Max did not go to the hospital as he was injured, we are told he went as a precaution. Big big difference.
            To use sensationalist language “sent him to hospital” in this context was poor form. Other disrespectful phrases used were “dirty driving” “professional foul” “you cannot pass at copse” hardly balanced phrases especially as the majority of current F1 and ex F1 drivers viewed it as a racing incident!
            Horner was RBR principal when Seb(rbr) passed Alonso (fer) at copse 14. Did he forget that somehow??
            The crime analogy stands, you couldnt use a heat of the moment defence if you chased down a robber 2hrs after they had committed a crime against you- the moment had passed.
            We will have to disagree.

          5. @robbie

            Lewis made a mistake. It was a small mistake which had large consequences, but the language used by CH and others strongly implied (at the very least) they considered it a purposeful act. It was also sensationalist, as Davethechicken said: Max went to hospital as a precaution, he wasn’t “sent to the hospital” or put in hospital, but taken due to an abundance of caution by medics in these situations.

            The entire language, every phrase used was designed to provoke a strong response, and this continued long after the excuse of “the heat of the moment” stopped being viable. This is especially the case with a person as high up in an organisation as TPs are in F1, as they are schooled to keep what they say under control, to only say what is good for the team. The control they normally exhibit but failed to in this situation, for days afterwards, leads me to strongly suspect that there was no loss of control, but a choice to speak as they did.

            While TW may have done the same, that is not an excuse either. I am suggesting that such rhetoric isn’t acceptable from any team member, with the possible exception of drivers immediately after an incident. I would be just as upset with any TP, or any other team member, making such a concerted effort to provoke a reaction.

            LH deserved to have the incident looked at by the stewards, and they handed down a proportional punishment based on his actions. He did not deserve the rhetoric pushed by CH and others, which further enflamed the reaction of those against him in this matter, which in turn gave a larger opening for racists to push their hate. The racism angle shouldn’t be used as a reason to stop criticism, but TPs should be held to account for what they say, and they should not be exacerbating the situation further in how they speak. Criticise away, but this went way beyond mere criticism.

          6. @drmouse Fair comment but I remain steadfast that CH never brought skin colour into it and therefore it is wholly unfair to cite him for inciting the racism card when that was never anything he spoke about. He spoke his mind, and that is fair for all to judge, but it is a cheap shot to indict him for anything anyone has chosen to say afterwards as it relates to LH’s skin colour. Since CH (and given he) said nothing that required race being brought into it, then unless we are to allow no emotions at all under similar circumstances from the TPs then anything CH might have said could have ‘incited’ the unrelated topic of race. Surely CH was allowed some degree of negative response given what happened, and even a slightly more diplomatic approach would likely not have mattered to some.

  18. Great research and I honestly didn’t know all these links between the Austrian Mafia and the rest. But it did read like an artcile from Hello for F1 – too much gossip. The only reason there is a rivarly is because both of the teams and drivers are close to win the championship. Everything else is noise.

    Reply moderated
  19. “the word in the paddock is that each blamed the other for losing out”

    Word in the paddock? Forgive me but any advance on who in the paddock is said this, or is this just gossip?

    1. Word in the paddock? Same lines as reliable source. (gossip I can dismiss as ‘well, they usual are reliable’.) Or ‘trusted source within the team’ (the Teams PR department). ‘Someone close to the individual’ (the actual individual). Throw in a few choice negative adjectives when describing one subject and some positives for the other and you have just about sold the story your sponsor wants you to.

      And as we see with the pit stop issue. Loads of ‘insider’ information and gossip to keep the stories going, and then when it settled down The Race just admits its standard practice up an down the pit lane for the pit gun button to be pressed before the nut is tightened.

  20. Adrian Newey is one of my heroes, (as is Richard Feynman ) his was the brain that produced the bendy wing, many years ago now! It fulfiled the regulation static testing requirements of the time and delivered incredible downforce on the move. Therefore, that Red Bull have bendy wings is no surprise, in fact I rather expect it of them.
    Mr Horner used to be a very affable chap, in public at least, but over the last year he seems to have changed. He has brought back the “win in the courtroom if not on the track” attitude that used to be prevalent a few decades ago. He has been publicly antagonistic against the Merc team and individual drivers. If this is a tactic it seems to be working as he is undoubtedly annoying people. Whether that is unsettling the karma of Merc and possibly causing them to waver under race pressure, (ie Hamilton alone on the grid on the wrong tyres) will be denied by Merc of course, but I would still like to see the old Christian back.

    Reply moderated
    1. Sorry but he never existed. Do you not wonder how RB burned out all of the racers in their academy, to the point where they have to recruit from outside, yet those kids go into other teams and other forms of racing and suddenly their performance comes right back?

  21. ‘…but that overlooks that the Brazilian is no longer with us.’ Not quite sure why that is relevant. Even if Senna were still alive, his rivalvry with Prost would still be one of the highlights in terms of excitement in the sport’s history

  22. Dieter, I assume you’re referring to 2012 and 2010 as being the most recent box office Intra- team World title fights?

  23. Fans point to the Ayrton Senna-Alain Prost era as one of the most exciting in the history of F1, but that overlooks that the Brazilian is no longer with us. That said, the FIA is under different management now, plus enormous safety strides have been made.

    I’m sorry, what? What does this imply? why is it relevant to anything in the article? What are you suggesting, Mr Dieter? That these guys would risk injury (or worse) if the situation stays like this?

    I find some of these articles rambling on about mostly nothing… what was all that about how Steiner, Tost, Berger…? The first part of this described something that had no relevance to the rest of the article… It could be a lot shorter to just tie the wanted articles that have already been published (the boo-ing, flexi-wings controversy, the crash) and give an opinion and get on with it. It doesn’t need to be “a (forced) insight” every wednesday…

    Tension is rising for political and sporting reasons. Nothing that F1 has not seen before. Or are we just forgetting the early 2000s with all the teams on one side, and Ferrari on the other, battling on track and off track, with even tyre suppliers going full attack on the other…

    1. Maybe the article was a bit to well informed for your taste
      I really liked the article. Nice insight in persons and the connections between them.

      1. Of course you liked the article, given the tone of it.

      2. Surprise, surprise…

      3. I should think you would like it. It was written for people just like you. Let’s face it there was no way you; unlike many on here, wouldn’t understand exactly why the author felt the need to reference the death on track of its most celebrated driver.

  24. You would think that considering one of them could in the future be Ross Brawn’s successor that they’d be a bit more diplomatic with each other

    Unless of course it’s all part of the show

  25. One way in which the tensions could be reduced is if FIA would not honor complaints as much with kneejerk rules changes during the middle of the season. That encourages the team to constantly try to push the FIA to change the rules in a way that improves their chances for the current season.

    1. @aapje Which knee-jerk rule changes?

      Rules can only be changed on the basis of safety or if all the team agree to the change.

      1. @scbriml

        Both the changed rules for the rear-wing and the almost-implemented pit-stop regulations clearly caused a lot of animosity between the teams. We immediately saw Horner blaming Mercedes for trying to win by changing the regulations and threatening to try to get other regulations changed that would supposedly harm Mercedes.

        With the spending cap, the impact of mid-season rules changes also becomes greater and thus automatically more contentious.

        And I think that it is an abuse of the ability to change the rules for safety when they aren’t changing the rules in response to an incident or a dangerous innovation by a team, but instead ban something that has been legal forever and which never has resulted in a clearly dangerous situation.

  26. What we really need to spice things up is for Newey to quit Red Bull and start designing cars for Mercedes. Good grief.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      4th August 2021, 23:08

      @ferrox-glideh lol, that’d be something!

  27. NeverElectric
    4th August 2021, 22:07

    @dieterrencken Please listen to the interview Dr Helmut Marko gave on Nz’s Newstalk ZB “Mike Hosting Breakfast” on Thursday, 5th August NZ time, available from here:
    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-demand/week-on-demand/

    Select “Auckland”, Thursday 05/08/2021, 08:00, starting from 7:00 on the stream.
    Among the titbits – Marko doesn’t seem to think the Lewis-Max incident was an accident, he also says Perez, at 31, is unlikely to be at RBR for long, and adds that Gasly could be back to the main RB team in another two years, etc.
    Fascinating interview.

  28. I have to say, I am baffled by this article. Lots of dead ends with the points raised and some (Senna’s death) irrelevant to the discussion. Perhaps a slight defensiveness for Red Bull is all I gleaned from this.

    The F1 media are guilty of ensuring the pot stays stirred in this rivalry and there are some well respected journalists I have lost respect for in the past few weeks having read their commentary, heard their lines of questioning or succumbed to their click bait. Unfortunately, to a small degree this site has also contributed to the frenzy around this rivalry, getting bogged down in the he-said-she-said rather than the high level of reporting that has kept me coming back for years.

    1. “I have to say, I am baffled by this article. Lots of dead ends with the points raised and some (Senna’s death) irrelevant to the discussion. Perhaps a slight defensiveness for Red Bull is all I gleaned from this.”

      Yeah, you’re not alone with that thought.

    2. Yes, I too felt it wasn’t actually telling me much I hadn’t seen connected and put together, without improvement of giving actual links, actions, and reasoning as to why some things went as they did.

      Als bit worried about some dismissive remarks about Mercedes and while Red Bull defensiveness (that link NeverElectric posted above, interview w. Marko still thinking crash wasn’t an accident), sorry why no strong putdown on that nonsense here or from Red Bull?)

  29. The title of the article indicates that readers may obtain a decent analysis into the animosity through fair distribution of content talking about each team in turn. Disappointingly, in its 23 paragraphs, most of them are for Red Bull.

    It started with Toto vs Horner as team principles of similar age and achievements in Paragraph 1. 2 and 3 were about Mateschitz and his various contribution to sports and his acquisitions. These read like a section taken out from RB or Mateschitz’s Bio.

    Paragraph 4 has one line about Toto. Then the remaining 4 – 5 lines talked about Marko, in other words yes Red Bull. Paragraph 5 has one line of Lauda and the remaining 5 lines were about Berger, Tost, Mateschitz again, Toro Rosso, Alpha Tauri – basically Red Bull’s achievements.

    Paragraph 6, 7 and 8 talked about the Merc and RB crossed paths and their animosity, with a notable line about Toto being an opportunistic arriviste, and the mention of the nascent Red Bull.
    Paragraph 9 talked about Toto again and this time pointed out that Toto “the young man with nice hair and plastic watch” and his crashes.

    By this time, as a reader, you question the need to highlight Toto being “an Austrian having been born in Vienna, to a Romanian father and a Polish mother”, while Mateschitz is described as “staunchly Austrian” and no similar description about Marko’s ethnicity, where they were born, or nationalities or whatever. Add this with Toto as an opportunistic ariviste and a young man with nice hair and plastic watch, one wonder if the author wants the reader to form a certain view of Toto. Certainly there is no mention of Horner with his signet ring for example.

    Paragraphs 10, 11 – gossips about the loathing between certain individuals.
    12, 13, 14 – about the controversy of each other’s car bits. Note the quotes attributed to Horner.
    15 – Silverstone. Note focus on how RB suffers. Mention of loss of million again at later para.
    16 – RB’s review request but keenly pointing out RB made no accusation re Ham intent.
    All of these sound like a full defence piece for Red Bull.

    17 – criticise Merc and Ham. One would expect a more balance content where RB can also be criticised for publicly accusing Ham of professional foul, of not caring after “putting Vers in hospital”, of celebrating his win too much. Vers was in hospital as a precaution, we all know that but Horner, for days, deliberately misled the public which, unfortunately, include those already have the propensity to hate based on colour.

    18 – this whole paragraph is problematic and reads as though this is truly Red Bull’s mouthpiece. It defends Horner despite attempting to state that may be, just may be, Horner was (too) emotional. Worse still, it insinuates that “someone put Lord Hain to it”. It repeats RB’s lines faithfully. Are you saying that as a senior leader in a global outfit such as Red bull, Horner is not and has no capability to be aware of the potential negative impact of his various statements?

    It criticised Hamilton for seizing RB’s action of terminating an employee who posted racist comment. The author declared that the evidence that RB isn’t racist is that it supports global athletes.

    Yet, it failed to mention that RB only terminated that employee when it has the potential to embarrass Red Bull further. It blatantly ignored Horner, Marko and Max himself, for 13 days, repeated statements about professional foul and putting Max in hospital etc. He very happily repeated how he was “put in hospital” but then swore profusely when journalist tried to do his job asking questions.

    20 – back to RB’s achievements including successfully luring Newey.
    22 – attempted to mention both but manage to slip in that it may potentially be the Merc’s first defeat in Hybrid era and that they are judged by their comments in defeat.
    23 – alright I suppose

    Red Bull shall be pleased that they successfully keep the controversy and the blame game going.

    Reply moderated
    1. Thanks for taking the time to analyze more in depth than I could be bothered to do, but as can be seen from my short reply earlier it feels like a RB propaganda piece. I’m a bit surprised we haven’t heard a word from the author himself after the relatively many reactions.

    2. doin the lords work. thank you

    3. Hey you. Is the Silverstone crash a racing incident?

  30. “Similar premium standards apply to Mercedes.”

    Erm…I cant say I agree. Mercedes is nowhere close to where it used to be in terms of build quality and driving experience. Perhaps its market forces, or perhaps they just dont care anymore.

    When I drive my mate’s W124 300E vs a contemporary variant, its chalk and cheese. I was driving my dad’s W212 E200 whenever I visited them up till a few years ago, it was terrible in comparison. A lot of ardent Mercedes fans have stopped buying them in recent years.

  31. Good read, I hope the second half is as exciting as the first. Redbull and Max can bring it back.

    I am just wondering what would happen if another incident involves a mercedes driver taking out max.

    Reply moderated
  32. Hmn read the whole article, and now sitting with the feeling why did I do that? In the end it felt a bit like something you would read in a colored weekly magazine, “rumours”, “sources”… RedBull weekly?

    All in all, many words very little concrete information.

    I did learn a bit about what is referred to as the “Austrian F1 mafia” which I had not put together. I.e. fully missed the fact that Steiner is part of this, as well

    As many others have wondered: What does this mean “… but that overlooks that the Brazilian is no longer with us.”???

  33. Imagine going to trouble to make that “SIR CHEAT” sign? What absolute saps

    1. To be fair any adult who believes in ‘karma’ probably has the intelligence of a rock.
      And I suspect those that came up with this sign maybe started revaluating their belief system 10 seconds into the race.
      Although maybe forces I don’t understand are at work, and RB got the karma they deserve.

  34. In the 30th paragraph, I think you mean “foment” rather than “ferment”.

  35. Liberty and the makers of Drive to Survive must be absolutely salivating.

    An incredibly close battle for both the WDC and the WCC, one that has been years in the making, has finally happened.

    Not only that but the team Principals and management are getting stressed and antsy with each other. All sorts of nastiness and shenanigans.

    It’s an absolute gold mine for the media and for F1 generally and they’ll be so chuffed. I imagine it’ll help the share price too.

    Sad thing is that I expect that in 2022 we’ll return to normal programming where 1 team (it could be any one of 4 or 5) will steal the march on the rest and walk away with a boatload of wins not unlike those that we’ve seen from 2014 to 2020.

    I’ll bet that all parties involved will be doing their utmost to see that controversy continues right throughout this season so they can make hay.

  36. Also, Wolff feels Horner is inferior. See how he looks down on Horner in the lead photograph.

    1. Green Flag, you’re rapidly becoming the reason I’m reading the comments here.

  37. No mention of Ross Brawn v Adrian Newey anywhere ?
    @dieterrencken @keithcollantine

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