Wolff and I are two of the last ‘dinosaur’ team principals – Horner

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that the characters of his fellow team principals have changed over his time in the sport.

In brief

Wolff and I are two of the last ‘dinosaur’ team principals – Horner

After starting as Red Bull team principal in 2005 during the team’s debut season, Christian Horner says he’s noticed a shift in the kinds of personalities he sees during team principals meetings.

“When I look around the room now, there’s very different personalities,” Horner said on the Unlapped podcast.

“When I first came into the sport, there was Ron Dennis, there was Flavio Briatore, there was Eddie Jordan, there was Jean Todt. There was Bernie Ecclestone running it, there was Max Mosley there, Frank Williams – some really big characters and personalities. Of course now you look around the room – maybe it’s just me getting older – but there’s more managers there and it’s gotten much more technical than the entrepreneurial side.

“So I suppose Toto [Wolff] and myself are perhaps two of the more ‘dinosaur’ type of characters compared to some. Even though I’m still on the younger side of the team principles. But the dynamic and the definition of what a team principal is these days is very different to when I first came into this post.”

Sargeant encouraged by recent form

Williams driver Logan Sargeant says he is ‘trending in the right direction’ performance-wise heading into the second half of the season.

Sargeant is now the only active rookie driver remaining in the field who has yet to score a point in 2023. However, he believes his performances have been improving since Austria.

“I think the last four rounds, from a driving point of view, maybe we don’t have the results to completely show for it, but I think it’s been a really good trend in the right direction,” he said. “So from a personal side, I’m really happy to see that.

“I think I need to clean some things up. I think as a team collectively, we can clean some things up. And that’s what we need to focus on going into the second part of the season. Speaking for myself, if I can take everything I’ve learned, start off on a better foot and just make that next good jump is what I need to do and I’d be happy with that.”

Isola “confident” F1 can improve wet visibility

Pirelli’s motorsport director Mario Isola believes the sport can achieve a target of 50% spray reduction in wet weather conditions.

Following concerns raised after last year’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka which ran to only half distance due to heavy wet conditions, the FIA began to pursue work developing mud-guard devices to try and reduce spray from the rear of F1 cars and improve visibility in wet conditions. While initial tests suggested more work is needed, Isola is confident the sport can find a solution to improve visibility.

“Why not?,” Isola said when asked if a 50% spray reduction target was achievable. “A 50% reduction in water spray is quite a lot, but I’m confident that they can find devices able to reduce the spray.

“We were discussing that also in intermediate conditions, you have a problem with visibility. So if they find something that is good for reducing the spray, that could be used also for intermediates or a new tyre or whatever. We need to define it at one direction and go in this direction.”

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Comment of the day

With Liberty Media admitting set up costs for the Las Vegas Grand Prix have increased, @bernasaurus isn’t too impressed…

“It’s a view that’s a testament to our Super Bowl aspirations for all our grand prix events.”

The qualifier there is the ‘all’ part. You can’t manufacture World Cup finals every week. Or if you do, it won’t last. We’ve talked about how NASCAR having so many races takes the ‘special’ away from each.

$400m is a lot of money, and they’re only doing it because they know they’ll turn a profit. But, we as F1 fans talk lovingly about Spa, Monza etc with their somewhat rudimentary facilities but great atmosphere, challenging racing. Do we need a shiny bauble concrete neon freeway?

Nearly half a billion dollars on something that already feels temporary. You can buy a ticket to watch it in a nearby sports bar for more than $2,000. The market for that is very fickle. Once they’ve done it once, they won’t be back next year.

$400m could buy every F2 drivers’ seat for a season, and F3 – let’s do that and have a ‘on merit’ championship rather than drivers needing funds / backing to compete.

Or jazz up Watkins Glen or Road America with infrastructure for F1 for half the price.

Moving telegraph poles in Vegas doesn’t strike me as the best idea.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to F1Antics!

On this day in motorsport

  • 40 years ago today Patrick Tambay led a Ferrari one-two in qualifying for the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, with Andrea de Cesaris 1.5 seconds behind for Alfa Romeo in third

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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35 comments on “Wolff and I are two of the last ‘dinosaur’ team principals – Horner”

  1. Well, so far these dinosaur team principals are doing the job, because red bull and mercedes are relatively new teams, if you went back 20 years you wouldn’t see them in f1, though ofc mercedes had a brief successful spell in the 50s, my point is though that ferrari and mclaren were able to fight for titles before red bull and merc were around, those teams seem to have something more, especially in terms of in season development and as stats show clearly, no other team has been able to beat both of them to a title in the last 14 years (including this year too cause the result is very clear).

    1. fight for titles and succeed*

    2. Mercedes are not really a new team though, are they? For one, they’ve now been in the sport under their current name since 2010, so that’s 13.5 seasons. But before that they were:
      1) Brawn GP
      2) Honda Racing
      3) BAR
      4) Tyrrell

      So, really, they’ve been around since 1968.

      Red Bull Racing. They were previously:
      1) Jaguar Racing
      2) Stewart Grand Prix

      So they’re comparative youngsters as they’ve only been around since 1997.

    3. Coventry Climax
      6th August 2023, 13:58

      But it’s not about the teams, it’s about the team priciples, and I can sort of agree with what he’s saying there. Would have been nice to hear Wolff’s reaction to it, and whether it’s something they agree on, for a change.

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th August 2023, 13:59

        priciples => principles

        1. Should be principals

          1. Coventry Climax
            6th August 2023, 22:52

            Ah, silly me. Not my native language is my only excuse.

  2. If the Haas allegation were to be provable fact and known to Haas, they they should be kicked out.

    I realize that would impact more than just the (alleged) perpetrators, but surely that sort of involvement is much worse than simply being someone who’s nationality happens to be Russian.

    1. Coventry Climax
      6th August 2023, 14:01

      Great option to allow TWO new teams in! Constructor teams please, not just american style ‘all-you-can-buy’ teams.

      1. And no car manufacturer teams if I may add something. Just constructors like in ‘chassis builders’.

    2. Having watched the video, I’m missing the link between a faceless chinese company which is exporting parts to Russia, and Haas. There are chinese businesses that specialize in reverse-engineering and duplication of parts– this is known. Perhaps instead of booting Haas from F1, Zhou Guanyu should be dropped? Note– I’m not serious– that would be ridiculous as well.

      More investigation is needed, which the PBS journalists didn’t really do. Half the report was about how Ukraine is very unhappy (justifiably so) with Russia having ANY Haas equipment, but it’s hard to unsell something in a foreign country.

      The Haas machines are popular because they’re reliable, and relatively simple– meaning they’re inexpensive, and easier to use than most of the competing products.

      And the irony here is that if you need spare parts for a Haas Automation CNC machine– if you happen to have a Haas Automation CNC machine, you can probably manufacture most of them yourself. An unnamed Swiss company was mentioned in the report as having supplied replacement motors to NPZ for the Haas CNC systems– so there’s already evidence for third party replacement parts being manufactured and imported.

      I don’t have answers… but the PBS report raised more questions than answers, so it’s fair to say neither do they, yet.

  3. So many of the newer ‘manager’ style team principles just often seem to lack the sort of passion for the sport that you get from Horner, Wolff & many from the past.

    There’s been a shift in general thats started to make F1 as a whole feel more corporate, More show & more sterile. It’s lost its heart.

    Thete are very few people in that paddock now who come across as having the same sort of love & passion for the sport that you got in the past. There feels like there are no longer many true racers who are there because they live & bleed the sport.

    I think back to my early days of watching and just absolutely loving Gilles Villeneuve because you could just tell he had a genuine love and passion for the sport and just wanted to get in a car and ring it’s neck. Jean Alesi was the same. And while many drivers of today likely have a lot of passion for F1 they just aren’t allowed to show it because of the corporate side & some of the ‘for show’ elements that often feel like they are been reigned in.
    It feels like less & less we are hearing drivers talk from the heart and more abd more that they are talking to push an agenda or been held back from giving there true thoughts.

    When i attend racrs now at a lot of venues the atmosphere is different. It just lacks that pure passion you used to feel from been around people who were there out of a love for gne sport. It’s now a feeling like been at a music festival to see a smaller band who 90% of the crowd don’t know so don’t react to in the same way as those who are there to support the band they love will.

    The sport has lost its heart!

    1. Coventry Climax
      6th August 2023, 14:25

      Despite the many typo’s, I almost fully agree with what you’re saying.

      The thing where I disagree is the comparison to music. I used to vist many, many small revenues, for all sorts of reasons. Amazingly, after the disco era, where people would just come in very late, not listen to the band at all but just chat and wait for the band to stop and the disco to start, it went back to people coming in for the music, because they loved it. Then things changed to mega size performances that you can attend for mega size prices, in concert halls and stadiums where the acoustic of the place isn’t worth paying even 10 cents for. People go there because they want to have a party, be part of that mega audience. That’s a different appeal then going there for the music alone.

      F1 has lost it’s heart alright, and it’s soul too, I would add. But for music, it’s exactly the same.

      People now visit F1 with the family; gramps & granny, their kids and the little grandkids. How they afford it is beyond me, but that, they say, is how it should be. I don’t agree one bit. F1 didn’t use to be a theme park, it was a sports arena, and a place for serious fans, that, by the way, got along more than just fine amongst eachother.
      That’s how F1 lost its heart and soul; the ever growing greed and commercialisation.
      Analogy? The best concerts are still in small revenues, with little or no admission prices and little or no profit.
      Just for the love of it. Heart and soul.

      I’m sure there’s typo’s im my text as well; sorry for that.

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th August 2023, 14:42

        Ah, sorry, maybe I don’t disagree with you on the music part at all, misread that, and have a slightly ‘alternative’ view on it maybe.

        1. Coventry Climax
          7th August 2023, 12:38

          Thanks for the attempt, but it says it all when you claim music still has heart to come up with a lone example.

      2. In today’s world, most things at the top have lost their heart. If you go back to the grass roots of anything (music, sport, even software development) the picture is different, but by the time you have reached the upper levels the amount of money involved leads to a very corporate structure.

        There are some exceptions to this. Some people manage to maintain their passion and the outward impression of it. But the overall landscape at the top of any field…

        1. Coventry Climax
          8th August 2023, 10:49

          My take on all that: While things (developments, arts, etc) are still new and niche size, they’re special, and done by passion. And have to be, because there’s just a few, meaning it’s not where the big money is.

          Then when they grow, get picked up by more and show signs of success, commerce takes over, seeing the opportunity to surf on the hype. In order to keep the hype going, things get modified such that more people are reached. That means a need to satisfy more people. Which, in it’s turn means more mainstream, and more mainstream equals less special.

          Commerce knows it alright, which is why they use the word ‘classic’ so much, because that was when it was still special.

        2. Unfortunately, I agree with you. Unfortunately as in to your content. Don’t mind agreeing with you at all.

  4. It looks like China is really embracing their first driver.

    When we finally get another race there again, it could be a sell out crowd!

    1. Coventry Climax
      6th August 2023, 14:30

      Yep, which is exactly what F1 is all about these days, sell out crowds.

  5. Both will not be missed at all when they will leave.
    They both brought politics in the current F1 which is bad imo and i don’t like it.

    1. @bluechris sorry, but if you claim to have been watching since 1980, the idea that Wolff and Horner are responsible for “bringing politics into the current state of F1” is laughable.

      Compared to what you apparently went through, Wolff and Horner are nothing by comparison – after all, you were meant to be watching when we had the FISA-FOCA war raging, for a start, with the sport being run by Balestre. When you had driver strikes, teams boycotting races, mass cheating of the regulations and teams even running their own non-championship races in protest at the conduct of FISA, that makes the modern era look extremely tame by comparison.

      Equally, politicking was a frequent feature under the leadership of Mosely – perhaps not surprising given Mosely said he’d rather have gone into politics than into motorsport. Mosely’s era of the sport was intensely political – events such as the 2005 Indianapolis GP brought that to the fore.

      What about events after that, such as the arguments between Caterham, Force India and Marussia from the 2010s? The lobbying and politicking by Domenicali during the negotiations that set up the current engine regulations, replete with frequent threats of vetoing regulations? The “off the books” meetings that Binotto and Todt were having when Ferrari was being investigated over their engines just a couple of years ago?

      Even now, what do you call the way in which we have Alpine and Ferrari counter lobbying the FIA over Alpine’s proposals to have the regulations changed to give them a performance boost? Are you saying that there is no political activity going on in those negotiations?

      What about the role of the commercial rights holder over the years? Are you trying to paint Bernie as being entirely passive from a political perspective within the sport until he was moved out a few years ago? Has Liberty Media not been lobbying the FIA for regulation changes over the years themselves?

      1. Agree anon, the Mosely, Ecclestone and ‘Ferrari’ era (when Ferrari had far more sway, pre-Liberty) where far more political, in the sense of a behind-the-scenes distortion of competition. I feel the current era is more balanced at least and to some extent more transparent, with a lot of teams working to ensure everyone else is more or less ‘playing fair,’ even if they are also working hard to block other teams from entering and taking some of the spoils.

      2. Completely agreed. The politics of modern F1 pales in comparison to that of the past. It’s pretty much always been intensely political, with all the teams pushing for things which would favour them. However, there have definitely been periods where the politics went way beyond that.

    2. I think all of those old-school participants Horner mentions brought politics into it. They were wilful, opinionated, big mouth (and sometimes loose cannon) characters. The real piranhas.

      Current F1, with its money fetish, needs the corporate type, as LyndaMarks says – reliable, self-controlled, scrupulously PC, thoroughly professional people.

      You probably say it’s a change for the better.

    3. @bluechris Are you serious? Have you forgotten about Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, Enzo Ferrari, Ken Tyrrell, Colin Chapman, Ron Dennis and Frank Williams?

      They were all happy to use politics to further their cause

  6. The Telegraph couldn’t be more wrong if it tried.

    Nothing devalues a championship more than the headline “this is why is better than F1” because all that does is put in people’s minds that F1 is defacto #1.

    Arbitrary facts about number of winners or distance between competitors is pointless if the public doesn’t attach cultural importance to it. Also, these ‘facts’ that supposedly make MotoGP ‘better’ don’t actually make it better. Having dominant competitors can increase value and set up huge momentus seasons when they are finally challenged. Think 2007 going into 2008 when Stoner was all conquering, and you had the Rossi comeback to take back his throne. Think 2021 when Hamilton’s dominance came to an end.

    No one in 2007 and 2020 realised that the ‘lack of competition’ and dominance was a good thing. It means that there’s enough room for a competitor to elevate themselves beyond the rest, but is also sets up a momentous occasion when someone else reaches that level.

    Total mystery isn’t a ‘good thing’. It means the competition lacks coherence. It’s whoever randomly happens to roll a 6 on Sunday. It means the competition has no way to be excelled in. That’s not ‘good’ from an event standpoint. Humans like predictability to a certain extent.

    Also talking about distances between first and second in a series where the races at 50% shorter. Come on.

    The #1 thing above all else is whether the championships culturally relevant. F1 is, most other championships aren’t. There’s plenty of race series that are ‘better than MotoGP’ if we use these same standards.

    1. Coventry Climax
      6th August 2023, 14:38

      Which is why I always hate comparisons to other sports. ANY other sports.
      If the comparison would come out a draw, like so many seem to go for, then you could seemlessly merge those two sports, nothing lost, nothing gained.

  7. Jurassic Parc Fermé.

  8. Coventry Climax
    6th August 2023, 15:01

    I did not watch that audience close call video, because it reminds me of these ‘best crashes’ videos which are so completely besides the point of the sports.
    If there’s anything in that footage worth analyzing so that things can be improved, watching that is not a job for the sensation seeking general audience out here, but for those responsible and organising everything. And I’m pretty sure they already have that footage.

    Didn’t expect to find references to such things here on RaceFans.

  9. Coventry Climax
    6th August 2023, 15:22

    Seriously alarmed by that video about Haas.
    That ‘no dealing with Russia’ even takes measures such as lawmaking and can not rely on people’s decency alone, is appalling.
    All that’s achieved sofar, even by american industrialists and politicians, seems to be ‘Make russia great again’.

    1. Mazepin must be fuming right now. Haas should be banned from the grid if this turns out to be true. They add no value to the sport anyways. Maybe that Andretti sellout looks more likely now.

      1. Coventry Climax
        7th August 2023, 12:41

        When this is true, whether or not they add value to the sports is irrelevant.

  10. Look at this, somewhat related, but not about Haas.

    This is link to a Quora answer by “Misha Firer”, to a question “Which companies are still doing business in Russia…”.
    I used to read him, because he has some kind of genuine sense of humour. According to his posts he lives in Moscow, as a Russian-Israeli dual citizen. He comes up with something like 2 posts/day about the problems in and with Russia, often well documented by photos. I have found him something like 1 year before, and sometimes I read him. Initially I thought, that it is pure and blindfolded support from him towards the current Russian regime, but he does sarcasm so well. Sometimes he comes up with serious posts also. The linked one is a bit of an outlier, with little text.

    The linked answer from him includes a huge lot of photos from supermarket shelves, with many examples of products from outside of the Russian sphere of interest. Actually, after reading him for a while, I am still surprised with this. The captions include the countrirs and the companies’ names. Often he comes up with very actual things, for example the drones hitting Moscow a few days before was also photo documented and posted my him.

    Well, I do not know if he is a real person, or someone with good writing, and humour skills doing the right thing from outside of Russia. But he seems to be so well documented with pictures. Allegedly Russian authorities do not really read Quora, and his Israeli citizenship is some kind of grant for him to be safe. But I can not be sure of these, so I will not write more about him, because I like him.

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